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Meaning of ‘I Know What You Want’ by ‘Busta Rhymes’ feat. Mariah Carey, Flipmode Squad

Released: 2002 • Features: Mariah Carey, Flipmode Squad

“I Know What You Want” marked a notable collaboration between Busta Rhymes, Mariah Carey, and the Flipmode Squad. Wrapped up in lush melodies, the song spins an intricate narrative about loyalty, struggle, and enduring love, unraveling the deep bond between two individuals grappling with the grind and glamour of life.

The hook, delivered by both Busta Rhymes and Mariah Carey, serves as a pact between two lovers. It’s a testament to their mutual understanding and commitment, promising to provide for each other’s needs. But it’s more than that, it ain’t just about material tangibles, it’s about emotional sustenance, it’s about having each other’s back, ride or die style.

In the verses, Busta Rhymes takes us on a journey through the up-and-down dynamics of love and the balancing act it requires when one is hustling in pursuit of success. The use of pet names like “Sugar Plum” and “Poo Bear” brings a sense of intimate familiarity to the narrative. The struggle isn’t sugar-coated either, with Rhymes acknowledging the frustration his partner feels due to his constant absence.

Interestingly, Busta paints a vivid picture of their sex life, subtly subverting the common oversimplification of such relationships in hip-hop, instead presenting it as another form of communication, another language of love. He celebrates it without objectifying his lady, clearly respecting her needs and desires.

The second verse continues to delve deeper into the narrative, laying out the trials they’ve been through together. The description of upgrading from 50 cent sodas and Novas to Hondas, Lexus, and Rovers points to their growth and success. But, even with success, Busta acknowledges his missteps, like “puttin’ ya through the unnecessary rigmarole”, and “puttin’ a thousand pounds of stress on your head”.

Mariah Carey’s solo section uses a range of metaphors to express the depth of her commitment. She talks about climbing a mountain high and touching the sky, indicating an approach towards her love and commitment that’s unconditional and unwavering. Her voice adds a tenderness to the narrative, balancing out Busta’s rugged toughness.

The final verse ends on a note of gratitude and promise. Complete with visual imagery of the duo’s luxurious lifestyle, it’s about the appreciation for the partner’s support and an assurance of reciprocation. The mention of the “yellow Lamborghini” and “Gucci bikini” is a testament to their success, but in the end, it’s about more than the material possessions. Busta highlights the bond with his partner, committing to never doing her “greasy” – basically, he won’t ever treat her badly.

In conclusion, “I Know What You Want” is a soulful exploration of the complexities of a long-term relationship in the context of hip-hop culture. It’s a testament to an enduring love that thrives amidst hustle and success, with a strong emphasis on respect, reciprocation, and understanding.

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