[YG] came up with the ‘I know you love me’ part and I loved that [singing] section
- Mariah Carey
Written by Mariah Carey, Keenon Jackson, Donell Jones & Kyle West
Produced by Jermaine Dupri & Bryan-Michael Cox
Samples “Where I Wanna Be” by Donell Jones
4:16 Single Version featuring YG
3:42 Remix featuring Remy Ma & YG
4:45 Flipside Remix featuring YG
4:45 Flipside Remix Instrumental
5:11 Flipside Extended Remix featuring YG
ABOUT THE SONG
What was going through your mind as you were writing this song? [Jermaine Dupri] had the track with the Donell Jones ["Where I Wanna Be"] riff on it for a while and we were writing some other songs. We actually were in Italy working on different tracks, just kind of playing around in the studio and then he was just like, "I have this track that I really want you to hear," and I was just blowing it off because I was more into doing something brand-new. And then we got back to, I think we were in L.A., and [songwriter] Crystal Nicole was there, who I worked with for "Touch My Body" and we started listening to the beat [for "I Don't"]. We heard it and loved it and sat down and wrote a verse and the melodies together.
I knew we would want someone featured on it but it wasn't until [UTA's] Chris Hart, my agent, was like, "Do you know YG? We rep him. Would you want to put him on a song?" And I was like, "Of course." So we got together, and it was literally 24 hours from the intro to the completion of the whole thing. I loved working with him in the studio as well. He actually got the idea to do that little singing part in the middle of recording and then we kind of moved it around afterwards. I loved starting the record off with him because it feels like more of a collaboration.
What made YG the perfect collaborator? He was very focused in the studio. He wrote his rhyme and then out of nowhere, he came up with the "I know you love me" part and I loved that [singing] section. I feel like he was a perfect collaboration because he really focuses on what he's doing.
What story were you trying to tell with the video? It was a day later after we did the song. We had to put it together really quickly. There wasn't really one storyline, it was just the breaking up of a, whatever you want to call it, relationship and it kind of fit with the lyrics. I've always wanted to burn a wedding dress in a video. So we took this opportunity to do that 'cause in the "We Belong Together" video, I told [director] Brett Ratner in post-[production], I wanted to burn the train of the wedding dress, which was actually the real wedding dress that I wore in one of my many endeavors into marriage. He wouldn't light the train up so I was like, "You know what? I'm gonna do this myself.”
You flaunt your physique in several ensembles in the video and recently showed a clip of you in the gym in heels. How did you physically prepare for this video? That was a nonsense routine right there. [Laughs] Dressing up in the ensemble and doing that was just me having fun and being silly. It was just reliving the splendor of [MTV's] Cribs. That was all I was doing, but before that, I've just been dieting and working out when I can. - Billboard “Mariah Carey Talks Collaborating With YG on 'I Don't' & Wanting to Burn a Wedding Dress in the Video” by Adelle Platon, February 7, 2017
WHEN DID YOU RECORD “I DON’T”?
Jermaine Dupri: The song was recorded a while ago, a couple months back when we was in Italy. We started working on the song back then, so then I finished the song in Vegas. She put YG on there recently in like the last few weeks.
HOW DID THE DONNELL JONES SAMPLE (“WHERE I WANNA BE”) COME ABOUT?
JD: Bryson Tiller took the second verse of “Shake It Off” in his song and that kind of gave me the idea to do something like that. I felt it was kind of trendy for singers to do. We did it in “We Belong Together” when she talked about the Babyface song. There are some people who don’t know the song and there are some that do, so that’s what I was pushing for.
IT HAS A ’90S R&B THROWBACK FEEL.
JD: I played [‘I Don’t’] for Bow Wow. He said, “Man, it don’t even sound like you produced the record.” To some people it sounds like a ’90s throwback, but to some people it just sound like a brand new song of her doing something different than what they’ve heard. A lot of kids out there want Mariah to make EDM music. That’s never gonna happen. I’ve been saying this forever, Mariah Carey is basically a rapper in a pop diva’s body. That ain’t her flow. She don’t listen to EDM. That ain’t her type of music. That poppy-sounding music, she ain’t never made that type of music anyway. - Rap-Up "EXCLUSIVE: JERMAINE DUPRI TALKS MARIAH CAREY ALBUM, BRYSON TILLER COLLABORATION," February 15th , 2017
“I Don’t” is very much a song reflecting on ill-fated love. What’s the songwriting process like when you sit down to write a song with such raw, personal lyrics? Those lyrics I wrote with a girl named Crystal Nicole — we also wrote “Touch My Body” together with The-Dream. She was more focused on the whole personal side when we were writing those lyrics. I think she was subliminally leading me there, and then by the end of the song, we were on the same page. We were just writing words instead of “Let’s make it about such and such.” We didn’t do that. It just ended up the way it was and I was like, “This is genius for this moment in my life.”
You have what’s become one of the most iconic catchphrases of the 21st century: “I don’t know her.” Is “I Don’t” a subtle nod to that? No! I wasn’t thinking of it! But I guess some people want to keep it going!
There’s a part in the “I Don’t” music video where we see you burn a wedding dress. Did that dress come from your personal closet? Well, we went shopping for a wedding dress and then I put it in my personal closet, put it on my personal body, ripped it off, and burnt it to embers! It was a totally new one, not one I was planning to wear on another date.
What was the symbolism behind burning the wedding dress? I just always wanted to burn a wedding dress. When I did “We Belong Together” with Brett Ratner, I told him I wanted to burn my 27-foot train. At the end of the “We Belong Together” video, the car drives off, and I wanted the dress’s train to burn up in flames dramatically. Yet, Brett wouldn’t do it. So I was like, “I’m gonna do it!” And I did it in this video because I thought it went with the whole concept.
Honestly — I don’t know if anyone knows this — the red dress I was wearing almost caught on fire when I was walking around it! I was just pacing and I couldn’t help it! I was in the moment, darling! - BuzzFeed “Mariah Carey Sets The Record Straight On "I Don’t" And How She Almost Caught On Fire” by Christian Zamora, February 22, 2017
What's up everyone! Here is my new official remix! Mariah Carey feat. YG - I Don't (Flipside Remix). - DJ Flipside on Facebook, March 2017
2017 Released as a non-album single.