Before “Crazy in Love,” “Drunk in Love,” and Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s other smash collaborations, there was “’03 Bonnie & Clyde.” The Kanye West-produced single — which appeared on Jay’s 2002 album The Blueprint 2: The Gift & The Curse — debuted 18 years ago.
Not only did Beyoncé’s relationship with JAY-Z start after their collaboration, the single was also her first solo feature recording after breaking off from Destiny’s Child.
Check out 5 facts you probably didn't know about “’03 Bonnie & Clyde.”
1. Inspired by the 1967 film, Bonnie & Clyde
Bonnie and Clyde were Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow. They went on a crime spree in 1932, committing several robberies and killing an estimated 13 people along the way. After a famous manhunt, they were killed by police in 1934. Their story was made into a movie in 1967 starring Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway.
The film glorified their story and created the image of Bonnie and Clyde as a romantic couple rebelling from authority, roles Jay-Z and Beyoncé inhabit in this song.
2. Tupac Shakur and Toni Braxton
"03 Bonnie & Clyde" sampled its beat from rapper Tupac Shakur's 1996 song "Me and My Girlfriend". On Tupac's song, his "girlfriend" is his gun, but in "03 Bonnie And Clyde," Jay-Z makes the girlfriend literal.
On October 8, 2002, Toni Braxton and her team released a statement claiming that Jay-Z's song "03 Bonnie & Clyde" had stolen Braxton's idea to sample the 1996 Tupac Shakur song "Me and My Girlfriend". Braxton sampled Shakur's song on the track "Me & My Boyfriend", included on Braxton's album, More Than a Woman (2002).
In fact, Braxton phoned New York radio station WBLF to complain:
”Jay-Z and Beyoncé are messing with my money. They’re trying to steal my mojo,” she reportedly said. ”I’m not hating on Beyoncé or anything, but I have kids to feed and this is taking money out of their college funds.”
Kanye West responded to Braxton's claims in an interview for MTV News:
"I had no idea about Toni Braxton's song. She can't act like ain't nobody ever heard 'Me and My Girlfriend' before. People hear the song all the time."
Roc-A-Fella Co-CEO, Damon Dash responded to Braxton's claims:
"Jay is a talented dude. I don't think he would steal anything intentionally," Dash said. "It's an ill coincidence, and things happen for a reason."
"I know he didn't intentionally make the same record she made. I don't think he even heard it."
3. Real Love
Beyoncé and Jay-Z were a real couple at the time, although they kept coy about their relationship. Over the next few years, they were seen in public more and more, and it became apparent they were an item.
This song marks the first clues that they are dating, as Jay declares them "the new Bobby and Whitney" (referring to the happier times of Bobby Brown and Whitney Houston's love affair) and raps, "Only time we don't speak is during Sex and the City."
4. On the Run Tour
Jay and Bey's 2014 "On the Run Tour" was inspired by "03 Bonnie & Clyde".
An official poster for the tour was released along with the announcement of the venture, showing Beyoncé and Jay-Z embracing whilst dressed in black ski masks, following the criminal "on the lam" narrative found in the couples' 2002 first single together, "'03 Bonnie & Clyde" and "Part II (On the Run)".
5. First Jay-Z and Beyoncé Collabo
This was the first musical collaboration between Beyoncé and Jay-Z. She was the most prominent member of the group Destiny's Child and was getting ready for a solo album."'03 Bonnie And Clyde" reached its chart peak of #4 in December 2002 (yes, "'03 Bonnie And Clyde" was actually released in '02).
Joining an established rap star was a great way to launch a solo career at the time, as the airways were flooded with hits featuring a male rapper doing the verses and a female singer coming in for the hook. Most of these involved either Ja Rule or Ashanti.