Singer and actress Brandy made an appearance on her old pal Queen Latifah’s talk show this week, and the Queen had a surprise for her guest. During Brandy’s interview, Latifah invited out fellow hip-hop stars MC Lyte and Yo- Yo, who appeared on the smash 1994 remix for Brandy’s breakout hit “I Wanna Be Down.”
“That was my first time meeting Queen, MC Lyte and Yo-Yo, and I was having a groupie moment,” Brandy recalled.
Latifah admitted that she was nervous working with Lyte.
“Lyte made me rewrite my part,” Latifah recalls. “I had some lovey-dovey, emotional, cute [lyrics]. I was like, ‘Oh, no no. I better step my game up or MC Lyte is going to butcher me on this record.'”
“I couldn’t wait,” Yo-Yo said. “It was the first time we had all been together on one song. The song was hot. Keith Crouch had just done an incredible job. The beat was just slamming. I was like, ‘This is a hit.’ … The styling, the makeup, the video just made it that much better.”
The “I Wanna Be Down” remix single and video proved to be something of a watershed moment in hip-hop. It stands as one of the best examples of hip-hop and R&B becoming more symbiotic, as the two genres would become virtually indistinguishable from each other on mainstream urban radio in the coming years. It’s also one of the first examples of a high-profile, all-female “posse cut.” At a time when female rappers’ visibility was at an all-time high, (with multiplatinum sales for acts like Salt-N-Pepa and Da Brat, plus Lyte and Latifah at the height of their commercial success), the video served as evidence that female rappers had fully arrived commercially and where as famous and successful as their male counterparts. Soon, the video would be followed by similar singles from Total (who’s “Can’t You See” remix featured female emcees Lil Kim, Da Brat and Foxy Brown) as well as Kim’s own “Not Tonight” remix, which featured Missy Elliott, Da Brat, Left Eye and Angie Martinez.