[The hook] was all her. It was Mariah and Jay -- it had 'first single' written all over it.
Written by Mariah Carey, Shawn “Jay Z” Carter, Narada Michael Walden, Jeff Cohen, Chirley Elliston & Lincoln Chase
Produced by Mariah Carey & DJ Clue
Samples “Attack of the Name Game” by Stacy Lattishaw
4:47 Album Version featuring Jay Z
4:32 Remix Album Version featuring Missy Elliott & Da Brat (Samples “Ain’t No Fun” by Snoop Dogg)
3:23 No Rap Version
10:19 Heartbreaker/If You Should Ever Be Lonely (Junior’s Club Mix)
10:12 Heartbreaker/If You Should Ever Be Lonely (Junior’s Club Dub)
10:20 Heartbreaker/If You Should Ever Be Lonely (Junior’s Hard Mix)
6:50 Heartbreaker/If You Should Ever Be Lonely (Junior’s Mixshow Edit)
15:40 Heartbreaker/If You Should Ever Be Lonely (Junior Vasquez’s Momentous Remix)
5:14 Love Hangover/Heartbreaker (Live at VH1 Divas Live 2000: A Tribute to Diana Ross)
ABOUT THE SONG
Interestingly, “Rainbow’ was not initially on Carey’s agenda of activities this season. “Heartbreaker” was actually written for the soundtrack to “All That Glitters,” which will feature the artist in her first lead film role. However, production for the Columbia Pictures vehicle has been postponed until early 2000. “I've written other songs that I'm saving for the movie. But 'Heartbreaker' felt current and fresh. I didn't want to wait on putting it out." - Billboard “Columbia’s Carey Unveils Rainbow" 10/16/1999 Larry Flick
"The original features Jay-Z. A lot of people say it's pretty much [in] the classic style of my up-tempos, like "Fantasy" or "Dreamlover." But it's kind of fun, and it has a new edge to it, I think, and definitely having Jay-Z takes it to a whole 'nother level. And Clue makes it really fun and stuff. And then the remix... I'm so excited about the remix. It's also gonna go on the album, and it features Missy Elliott and Da Brat, and it's kinda like a girl-power answer record, and it's to the loop of Snoop [Dogg]'s 'Ain't No Fun.' They're not ready for that one!" - Mtv.com 8/19/1999
"It's fun when you can find someone that you can relate to and that you respect. Jay-Z is someone I admire as a writer and as an artist. We could be sitting in the studio, and he can freestyle a rhyme that would be incredible just off the top of his head. He doesn't need a pen and paper. I equate that to a singer who can pick up the mike and riff and ad-lib over a song and take you to a totally new place.” - 2003 Fred Bronson “The Billboard Book of Number 1 Hits”
“It was from the standpoint of girls that keep going back to that same guy and they can't help themselves. They know they are going to continually get hurt, and the situation won't change or improve for them as long as they continue with the guy. I've been one of those girls, so I know there's a lot of them out there, and they need to gather strength and move on and past it” - 2003 Fred Bronson “The Billboard Book of Number 1 Hits”
Mariah was a pioneer in Rap&B, using her pop clout to make some of the '90s most memorable A-list collaborations. Recruiting a baby-faced Jay Z for the 1999 smash "Heartbreaker," the singer also flipped the original into a feminist take on Snoop Dogg's 1993 "Ain't No Fun" which included Missy Elliott and Da Brat. Both the original and the remix were produced by DJ Clue (now a regular on New York's Power 105.1), who talked to Billboard about his time in the studio with Mariah.
DJ Clue: "Heartbreaker" was the first one we did -- we had a mutual friend who was always saying we should do something together. I had an idea -- I always loved some Stacy Lattisaw, "Attack of the Name Game." I used to listen to it when I was young. I sampled it, and put the idea together. Once I played it for Mariah, she loved it. That's where "Heartbreaker" came from.
I told her, "I'm going to call Jay Z and get him to put a verse on it." I went and sat with Jay, and played him the record. He liked the idea. It was a perfect marriage at the time.
That's one thing about working with MC -- if you're doing the music, she lets you do what you do. She doesn't try to tell you what to do. She's all ears. [The hook] was all her. It was Mariah and Jay -- it had 'first single' written all over it.
With the remix, I was just trying to think of a record that everyone liked, across the country -- whether they were East Coast or West Coast. Obviously it was a West Coast sample, so to give it more of an East Coast feel, I added the little intro. It was more like a hip-hop beat intro, a little more hardcore. I just wanted to give it that vibe. Then I switched it over to the Snoop sample. Da Brat did her part in the studio with us, Missy wasn't there.
[Mariah] was so busy at the time, that every moment we got to do the actual music -- it would take a bunch of sessions to do one song, she wanted to make sure everything was perfect. She takes her work very seriously -- there's so many records we've done that we've scrapped because she wanted to make sure everything [she released] was up to par, to that superior level. - Billboard: April 12, 2016 “We Belong Together: Mariah Carey's Collaborators Share Untold Stories Behind 8 Classics” by Natalie Weiner and Adelle Platon
“This was one of my many collaborations with DJ Clue, only this time the song became a main version - not a remix. I was thrilled that the incomparable Jay-Z was part of it. It features a sample of Stacy Lattisawy’s “Attack of the Name Game.” I feel like all of the elements work so well because the song has both an edge and a mass appeal sound. The video, directed by my dear friend Brett Ratner, pushed it over the top and helped give me my fourteenth #1.” - #1 to Infinity liner notes, 2015
Roshumba: Well, I remember reading an article in a newsletter one day and coming across a review of your first single "Heartbreaker." It seemed to go on about how it lacked originality and was just a bland remix of "Fantasy." What are your thoughts on that and what do you believe your fans expect from you in terms of music now a days?
Mariah: Well, I have heard that one time and again. But people must realize that I do have my own personal style. That's why all the 1st single releases do have a tendency to sound similar yet unique in their own way. Besides, I believe that is the kind of music the fans expect from me; up-tempo, pop-infused, fun songs as the 1st single release. I did get alot of heat from "Heartbreaker" and maybe it was a little too similar to past singles but at the same time, it was what I wanted to do. Though I think I succeeded in giving Heartbreaker it's own little personality which distinguished it from the previous singles. If that wasn't the case and the fans thought it was too much of a rip off of "Fantasy", I don't think they would have made it #1 - VH1, Dec 6.1999
MC in video: “There’s a lot of parts that are interwoven, I tend to do a lot of background parts… Those parts are important, I spend time on them, darling!’
DJ Clue via comment on the video: ““‘A lot’ of background parts… is an understatement. I had to upgrade my system to deal with that masterpiece! - Glamour Magazine Instagram Video on Mariah’s Account, May 23, 2018
[ed. Talking about the top 3 songs that make the soundtrack of your life]
MC: Can you pick just three?
SS: Umm, I have, I have. Like “Funkin’ 4 Jamaica,” I love that…
MC: And I remade that song!
SS: You sure did, honey! You know another one that I hold dear to my heart that you redid was Rainy Davis’ “Sweetheart.”
MC: Rainy Davis! I love her!
SS: What! Girl! When you did “Sweetheart”…
MC: Do you know Val Young? ‘Cause I did “If You Should Ever Be Lonely” with Heartbreaker.
SS: Buffalo, New York, yup. I told you, I’ve been there since we were babies together, coming up. I was coming up in radio, you was coming up in music. But every time you came out with a song, it resonated, because I grew up at the same time.
WBLS 107.5 NYC “Mariah Carey Talks New Music, Rebirth of Glitter and Listening to WBLS Throughout The Years” with Shaila Scott, November 20, 2018
1999 Released on the Rainbow album
2001 Included on Greatest Hits compilation
2003 Junior’s Club Mix & Album Remix included on The Remixes compilation
2011 Included on The Essential Mariah Carey compilation
2015 Included on the #1 to Infinity compilation