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The Story Behind Beyonce's Why Don't You Love Me

05/12/2010
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Last Tuesday, (May 4th), an internet frenzy erupted as Beyonce, who recently spoke about taking a six month hiatus, personally released her latest video "Why Don't You Love Me". The video received over 1.5 million combined views within the first 60 hours and was a trending Twitter topic during its debut. What's also just as unexpected and interesting as the video's release is the unexpected producers of the song and their story of how the song came to be.

"Why Don't You Love Me" was produced by the Houston-based electro trio the Bama Boyz (aka the Bamaz). The trio's members Eddie "E-Trez" Smith III, Jesse J. Rankins and Jonathan D. Wells originally hail from Montgomery, Alabama and have been based in Houston since 2003. When asked about their sound, the Bamaz uniquely describe it as "music schizophrenia."

"We're a bit left-field because we mix genres," says Jonathan. When asked by Solange Knowles (the Bamaz produced "ChampagneChroniKnightCap" featuring Lil Wayne & "Valentine's Day" on her latest release) to put instrumentals together for her to write to for her sister Beyoncé, the Bamaz almost purposely left the instrumental for "Why Don't You Love Me" out. "We didn't think it sounded anything like what Beyoncé was recording at the time but we put it in the email anyway just because we knew Solange likes weird records," says Jesse jokingly. "But we made sure to send it last!"

Out of all the mainstream-inspired attempts the Bamaz sent to Solange first, she chose that last, most unexpected track and wrote "Why Don't You Love Me." Jonathan comments: "When we heard Solange's demo, we were excited because that track was more our true sound than any of the others [sent], but we still kinda didn't believe Beyoncé would cut it ... but we hoped!"

Months after Solange cut the demo, Beyoncé came to Houston's Music World Studios for a recording session. The Bamaz were there working and she invited them into her session to listen to the then early versions of I Am...Sasha Fierce. All of a sudden after Beyoncé played "Halo," the Bamaz track came blasting through the speakers featuring the patented, attention-commanding vocals of Sasha Fierce singing "Why Don't You Love Me." The fellas were thrilled to hear she recorded it and loved the song.

The second time the track "almost didn't happen" was when Solange's EMI rep, not knowing Beyoncé had already recorded the song, was preparing to shop the "Why Don't You Love Me" demo to other artists. "It just so happened that he knew us and called to ask if we can add more sounds to the chorus before he sends it out...that's when I told him 'No, don't send it out, Beyoncé is using it!'" exclaimed Eddie.

The third (and final) time the track almost didn't come into existence was when the album was completely finished and "Why Don't You Love Me" stood out like a sore thumb amongst the other tracks, such as the urban leaning smash "Single Ladies" and the Pop ballad "If I were A Boy." "On one hand you have all these great pop records that felt like Beyoncé, and then on the other hand here's this retro, aggressive, electro/dance cut...even we had to admit it stood out," laughs Jesse. "Why Don't You Love Me" barely made the album and ended up a bonus track on I Am...Sasha Fierce. "We kept hearing from people closer to her that she really liked the song and played it a lot, I think that's the only reason it made the album," adds Eddie, "but no matter why or how, we were just happy we made it."

Late Sunday afternoon, May 2, 2010, the Bamaz were in the midst of shooting a promo reel for their upcoming live gigs in the House of Deréon Media Center in Houston when they began receiving an unusual amount of texts, tweets and Facebook messages from friends congratulating them on Beyoncé's new sneak peak of the video "Why Don't You Love Me." "I thought people were just confused about the commercial that WE were shooting," laughs Jonathan. The fellas received so many simultaneous messages that they had to stop the shoot to further investigate online. "No one told us she was doing a video [for it], we had no clue," claims Eddie. That following Monday the video's existence was confirmed as the Bamaz watched it for the first time. "When we first saw it, the world hadn't seen it yet, but we could feel it was going to be big because of the detail she put into the imagery... she brought the sound to life...it was art," explains Jesse.

The Bamaz released their own electro EP entitled Socially Awkward as a free download on www.thebamaz.com this past September and are planning to release their own full album the top of 2011. The trio has been songwriting and producing since 2003 beginning as in-house producers for Music World Entertainment. Though they are best classified as Electro, they have also earned music credits in various genres including R&B, Hip Hop, Urban Gospel, Dance, and Latin Pop building upon an impressive résumé of working with artists such as Beyoncé and Solange Knowles, Destiny's Child, Mya, Lil Wayne, Mike Jones, Rick Ross, Trin-I-tee 5:7, George Clinton, and Voltio among others. The Alabama natives have also scored tracks for commercials and films through their production company, My Turn Entertainment, which include The Pink Panther, Roll Bounce, Save the Last Dance 2, The Last Holiday, Bring It On All or Nothing, Chancers (a UK reality series on which they also made appearances), "Home for the Holidays" (a Wal-Mart commercial featuring Destiny's Child), Nickelodeon's Wow! Wow! Wubbzy!, and a commercial for Ford Motors' Ford Fusion.


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