I was really coming into myself when I wrote it
- Mariah Carey
Written by Mariah Carey, Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs, Kamaal “Q-Tip” Fareed, Steven “Stevie J” Jordan, Stephen Hague, Bobby Robinson, Ronald Larkins, Larry Price & Malcolm McLaren
Produced by Mariah Carey, Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs, Kamaal “Q-Tip” Fareed & Steven “Stevie J” Jordan
Samples “Hey DJ” by the World’s Famous Supreme Team and “The Body Rock” by the Treacherous Three
5:02 Album Version
5:32 Bad Boy Remix featuring Ma$e & The Lox (Styles P & Jadakiss)
7:32 Classic Instrumental
8:05 Classic Mix
6:18 Def Club Mix
10:50 Def Rascal Anthem
7:23 Mo’ Honey Dub
11:01 Morales Club Dub
7:35 Morales Dub
5:09 Rascal Dub
4:40 Smooth Version No Intro
5:06 Smooth Version With Intro
5:12 So So Def Mix featuring Da Brat & JD
3:59 So So Def Radio Mix featuring Da Brat & JD
ABOUT THE SONG
"Well, when I wrote the lyrics and melody and laid out the vocals, I was by myself, so that's what really dictates the changes in that song," Carey said. "I don't really like to be in the studio with a producer when I'm doing that, because it gets too hectic.” However, Carey was in the trenches with Puffy, Stevie, and Q-Tip when the four were putting "Honey" together. "I'm there, basically, because with that song when we decided to put the 'Hey DJ' part in the beginning, that was sort of like... Puffy was like, 'I think we should have a bridge,' and I said, 'Ahh, I don't think we should have a bridge,' and he's like, 'I'm telling you, we should have a bridge.' So then Stevie and I were like, 'Put this "Hey DJ" part here.' Then we put it in the middle, and then we put it in the beginning, so it was very much of a collaborative effort, starting with Q-Tip's idea to use the loop to the completion of the record," Carey explained. - MTV News, September 25, 1997
"I'm doing my own stunts," Carey told MTV News. "It is me. I am the only one up on the rope, and when you see it you are going to think I'm out of my mind, because they actually pulled me up in the air, like 50 feet in the air and rigged it, and Mase pulled me into the helicopter and stuff." - MTV News “Mariah Carey Risks Life And Limb For Her Video” September 11, 1997
In the video, she pinches the cheeks of Sean “Puffy” Combs and Mase – “That freaked them out,” she says laughing. “They take that [gangster] stuff seriously.” - Entertainment Weekly Issue 398 – by Degen Pener, September 26, 1997
"Q-Tip, from Tribe Called Quest came up with that idea, to use the "Body Rock" loop and he played it to me over the phone and I knew immediately that this was the happy, light summer vibe I needed. Then we thought it out and put "Hey DJ" on top of it and Puffy came in with all his ideas so it was a collaborative effort. That's what I'm about. I don't just get a producer to come in and invent or reinvent me.” - Blues & Soul (UK) Issue: September 23, 1997 “Butterfly kisses,,, or in bed with Mariah!” by Jeff Lorez
SOREN: What's the song "Honey" about?
CAREY: What's it about? Honey. No, I'm just kidding.
SOREN: It's not a euphemism for anything? (Awkward silence) All right, I just didn't know if you were getting really raunchy.
CAREY: I'm getting totally raunchy here, man. No, I'm not raunchy. - MTV UNPLUGGED Interview with Tabitha Soren 1997
“Puff and I wanted to collaborated, do the first single. We were going back and forth with stuff, so I had songs I liked but I knew they weren't exactly what I wanted yet. The original idea for the loop that "Honey" is written on is a song called "Body Rock" by Treacherous Three. He played it for me over the phone, and I was like, "That's It!" So I wrote the song on the top of it and then we all got together at Puffy's.” - TV Hits (Australian Magazine) October 1997
“[They] had an idea and they asked me to come in and produce the record,” [Sean “Puffy”] Combs said. So far it seemed so good. But he wasn’t allowed in the studio when Mariah was doing her vocal takes - an odd situation for a producer. “A lot of people feel I’m overbearing,” Combs explained, “so I wasn’t allowed [there]. I’m trying to work on that. I’m such a perfectionist, sometimes I don’t give people a chance to breathe …. Mariah [recorded ‘Honey’] until she thought it was perfect, like a hundred times. She gave me a hundred tracks to choose from.” - Mariah Carey: Revisited, Page 323 by Chris Nickson, 1998
“The first time I worked with Puffy was in ’95 for the Daydream album - early 96 - we did Fantasy together. And a lot of people - that’s before he was Puff Daddy the famous rap star, you know, he was a really hot producer and that’s why I wanted to work with him, ‘cause I was just enjoying the work that he was doing. Fantasy was such a huge success that it was natural that we work together again and we did Honey and Breakdown. I enjoyed working with him and he has someone that works with him who is a great producer as well called Stevie J who I really love working with - he’s a great person and a very talented musician as well. - #1s DVD Interview 1999
Mariah Carey is a huge fan of hip hop, according to Sean “Puffy” Combs, founder of Bad Boy Entertainment, who was asked by the artist to produce a couple of tracks for her Butterfly album. “She and [rapper] Q-tip [of A Tribe Called Quest] had an idea and they asked me to come in and produce the record,” says Combs. But his need for excellence kept him out of one place you’d expect to find him. “A lot of people feel I’m overbearing, so I wasn’t allowed in the studio when she did her vocals,” he reveals. “I’m trying to work on that. I’m such a perfectionist, sometimes I don’t give people the chance to breathe. So I’ve been banned from a lot of studios. Mariah [recorded “Honey’] until she thought it was perfect, like a hundred times. She gave me a hundred tracks to choose from.” - “The Billboard Book of Number 1 Hits” by Fred Bronson, Page 858, 2003
“The song represents a real transition in my life. In many ways, I was really coming into myself when I wrote it and I think the video also surprised a few people :) Needless to say, it was one of the happiest times of my life both personally and professionally, as tumultuous as it was.” - #1 to Infinity liner notes, 2015
World's Famous Supreme Team's "Hey DJ" sample became an essential ingredient to Mariah's smooth track "Honey." Produced by Hit Men tandem Stevie J and Puff Daddy as well as A Tribe Called Quest's Q-Tip, the 1997 chart-topper became a Bad Boy affair with contributions from The LOX's Jadakiss and Styles P, as well as Ma$e.
Stevie J: It was with me and Puffy in the studio working and he was like, ‘Yo, I’m gonna bring somebody through and we’ll see if we could get some work done with her,' and it was Mariah. It was just fun -- just smiles and jokes with a bottle of wine and a lot of Cristal. She was full of life and wanted to see if we were real musicians. She was like ‘Do you bang on beat machines or do you play instruments?’ So we went to the live room and I had to get in there and play the piano. We began creating melodies.
Q-Tip brought the ["Hey DJ"] sample to the table and me and Puff took it from there. We cleared the samples and it took no time to cut the sample and throw the drums and the keyboard on there. I’d say the session came together in four hours in one day. Once we started mixing the record in [the New York studio] the Hit Factory, the LOX were in there and I asked Mariah, "Do you know the LOX?" And she’s like, "I love the LOX!" So I went into their session and they got on it. She loved Ma$e so Ma$e got on it. That was the team together.
Jadakiss: We were in another session -- we were downstairs, and Mariah was upstairs. Either Stevie J or Puff -- somebody came downstairs and was like, "Yo, leave your session and come upstairs, I need you to drop something on this Mariah record." Being young, ambitious, and thirsty to better our career, we were like, "Hell yeah!" We stopped what we were doing and went upstairs. I don't think Sheek [Louch] was there, that's why he's not on the actual song. That's how spontaneous it was -- I think we were doing a feature for somebody else. That's how you gotta be in this game. It's a very spontaneous game, and some of your biggest breaks may come just off something like that.
Styles P: It was a real nice studio -- the food layout was good, the liquor layout was good. I brought my element to the table, an organic one. Just had a real, real good time. That was the first time I ever drank plum wine. Mariah gave me plum wine -- back then I didn't even know wine came in plum flavors. That was really awesome. When I heard it I was just really excited. For a rapper to be able to get on a song with Mariah Carey, for it to be the kind of beat you could actually enjoy rapping over, that makes for a great session. Makes your job easier.
Jadakiss: At that time, I was still a young kid -- I was really in awe of Mariah. I was just trying to complete my work. Then once we did the video, that was when we could really let it all out -- you sit with her for a few hours and you're really feeling like somebody. Music was in a different space -- there was more money being thrown around. The video budgets were bigger, the album budgets were bigger. Everybody was in a happier space, for the most part. It was a very fun day -- helicopter on set, gold shiny suits. I threw that off soon as the shot was done, I don't know where the hell those suits are at.
Stevie J: Mariah is a diva and anything that divas do, it transcends. Since me and Puff were the hottest producers in hip-hop at the time, doing a collaboration with someone like Mariah Carey, it was bound to blow because everyone knows she’s a helluva vocalist. If she gets on some hip-hop tracks and write it the right way, it’s gonna be a win-win. So I had no doubt in my mind she was gonna fly on the hip-hop side. She’s like one of the greatest of all time, and I’m just blessed to have work with her.
Styles P: This is a huge, huge, record-breaking multi-platinum artist, but she was always very down-to-earth. Laughing, smiling, good energy. Always greets you with open arms. A lot of artists are assholes, to put it simply -- especially when they're of that caliber. I think she takes herself as a cool lady first, a cool lady that's just working. I've always appreciated her for that. - Billboard “We Belong Together: Mariah Carey's Collaborators Share Untold Stories Behind 8 Classics” by Natalie Weiner and Adelle Platon, April 12, 2016
NOTABLE LIVE PERFORMANCES
1997 Released on the Butterfly album.
1998 Included on the #1s compilation album.
2001 Included on the Greatest Hits compilation album.
2003 Classic Mix & So So Def Mix included on The Remixes compilation.
2015 Included on the #1 to Infinity compilation album.