First Hit #1: October 4, 2003
Baby Boy is really a Sean Paul song with a feature spot for Beyonce, no matter how it’s credited. Beyonce’s got the chorus – and it’s a pretty good chorus, let’s not undersell her contribution – but Sean Paul has more verses and is never really far from the song. He is the prominent thread in the music, and he is a much larger component to the song than Beyonce is. Yet, she gets the main credit, probably because it’s on her album.
It’s one of those songs that looks more interesting on paper than it actually is, with a bunch of Eastern European references that are eclipsed by Paul’s reggae pull. No matter what the arrangement does, his vocal pulls focus, and it’s only if you make the choice to ignore the vocals that you notice that the song is doing a lot of interesting things, a confluence of world music influences pressed into service as part of a mainstream pop song. That is, in theory, what pop acts should aspire to do – go a little more eclectic than they have to – but in reality Sean Paul subjugates all, including the otherwise dominant Beyonce.