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In 2019, the number of female-driven R&B groups are few and far between. 20 years ago, the opposite was the case, as a plethora of duos, trios and quartets dominated the landscape of music. While acts like TLC, SWV, Total, Xscape and others had established themselves as superstars, there was a new crop of talent looking to usher the genre into the new millennium, Destiny’s Child.
Comprised of Beyoncé Knowles, Kelly Rowland, Letoya Luckett and LaTavia Roberson, the Houston natives made a big splash in 1998 with their self-titled debut, led by the hit single “No, No, No” and its accompanying remix. While successful, the album wasn’t enough to mint the group as superstars or truly set them apart from the rest. However, it would be the release of their second album, The Writing’s on the Wall, that would elevate the group to the upper echelons of not only R&B and mainstream music.
Released on July 27, 1999, the album would produce multiple hit singles, sell millions of records and stamp Beyoncé as a future breakout star. Not without controversy, _The Writing’s on the Wall _preceded group members Luckett and Roberson’s split from the group amid grievances with their management. This resulted in them being abruptly replaced by Farrah Franklin and Michelle Williams during the thick of Destiny’s Child’s promotional run in support of the album.
In spite of the drama behind the scenes, The Writing’s on the Wall solidified Destiny’s Child’s standing as the future of R&B and is regarded as an undisputed classic that marks a special moment in time. To commemorate the 20th anniversary of this landmark album’s release, we highlighted nine facts about The Writing’s on the Wall that you may not know.
1. Kandi Buruss Co-Wrote the Album’s Biggest Hits
The Writing’s on the Wall hit singles “Bills, Bills, Bills” and “Bug a Boo,” were the first of which became Destiny’s Child’s first release to top the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The songs were co-written by Kandi Burruss, who became one of the industry’s hottest pens following her split with former R&B group Xscape.
2. The Album Earned Six Grammy Nominations
In addition to its commercial success, The Writing’s on the Wall was subject to a substantial amount of critical acclaim, earning six nominations at the 43rd Annual Grammy Awards. Taking home hardware in the Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals category, as well as Best R&B Song; plus, the quartet received nods for Record of the Year and Song of the Year.
3. The Tony! Toni! Tone! Connection
If you take a close look at the credits on The Writing’s on the Wall, one recurring name that’s vaguely familiar is that of D’Wayne Wiggins, a founding member of legendary R&B trio Tony! Toni! Tone! writing and producing two songs on the album (“Temptation” and “Sweet Sixteen”). Wiggins’ contributions helped round out the proceedings and serve as two of the stronger deep cuts on the album.
4. It’s the Group’s Second Best-Selling Album
Upon its release, The Writing’s on the Wall debuted outside of the Top 5 on the Billboard albums chart and took upwards of a month to achieve Gold certification. However, the album gradually climbed back up the charts after the release of the single “Say My Name,” which bolstered the album to its peak position at No. 5 on the Billboard 200 months after its initial release. Spending 99 consecutive weeks on the chart, the album sold more than eight million records in the U.S. alone, making it Destiny’s Child’s second most successful album to date.
5. Beyoncé Initially Didn’t Like the Beat For “Say My Name”
Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins was among the elite producers in R&B during the late ’90s and early 2000’s, with a track record of producing chart-topping singles for the biggest names in the genre. However, upon hearing the boardsman’s track for “Say My Name,” Beyoncé was unimpressed, prompting Jerkins to go back to the drawing board and reworking the beat into the version we know today.
6. The “Bills, Bills, Bills” Music Video Concept Was A Tribute to Beyoncé’s Mother
Beyoncé’s mother Tina Knowles has been credited as one of the driving forces behind the group’s success, serving up looks as the group’s hairstylist and costume designer for various looks throughout their career. In honor of Tina Knowles, Destiny’s Child decided to set the music video inside Knowles’ successful salon in Houston, Texas.
7. It Showcased the Group’s Evolution as Songwriters
After taking the backseat from writing and production on their self-titled debut, the time came to construct Destiny’s Child’s [sophomore album] https://revolt.tv/stories/2019/07/08/jaden-smith-crosses-genres-sophomore-album-erys-070085240f, the group took a more hands-on approach. Co-writing 11 of the 15-songs on the album and assisting in producing several, Beyoncé, Kelly and company took a big step forward in their evolution as creatives on The Writing’s on the Wall.
8. The Inspiration Behind “So Good”
Destiny’s Child are mentioned among the greatest girl group’s of all-time, but prior to their meteoric rise, the quartet had to deal with naysayers and detractors, whom they addressed on the song “So Good,” according to LaTavia Roberson. “It’s a feel-good song, but it’s from us ’cause there’s so many haters out there,” she said during a 1999 interview. “And it’s just like you’re just doing your thing and you’re doing what makes you happy and trying to make other people happy. It’s about how people used to tell us that, ‘Y’all ain’t gonna make it… So, when their single coming out?’ We’re just saying that by the grace of God that we’re doing so good and that we’re telling those people that we still made it even though y’all put us down in the past and everything.”
9. Beyoncé Produced “Jumpin’, Jumpin’”
One song from The Writing’s on the Wall that garnered plenty of airplay on the radio and in the clubs was “Jumpin’, Jumpin’,” which was released as the fourth and final single from the album. Sung entirely by Beyoncé, the track was a massive success, peaking at No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 and spawning a So So Def remix featuring Lil Bow Wow, Da Brat and Jermaine Dupri.
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