The stakes were always high when it came to working with Beyoncé. Already a superstar and a three-time Grammy winner as a member of Destiny’s Child, with four Billboard Hot 100 No. 1s under her belt, when she went solo in 2003 with the release of “Dangerously in Love,” she set a dizzying pace right out the gate, boasting two No. 1 hits and selling over five million copies of the album.
With her sophomore release “B’Day,” she knew she had to raise the bar, as both a singer and a visual artist — a given now, as Queen Bey turned 40, but not yet cemented 15 years ago.
Although her self-titled fifth album is the first which Beyoncé directly deemed a visual album, many devotees of the singer consider “B’Day,” released to accompany her Sept. 4 2006 birthday, to be the first true visual representation of her music. That’s largely because, seven months after its release, Beyoncé released the “B’Day Anthology Video Album” DVD, containing 13 music videos.
Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins, who produced “World Wide Woman” and the album’s lead single, “Deja Vu,” recalls Beyoncé telling him her initial plans to make a music video for every song on the album. “She was actually watching different people she was thinking about hiring as directors,” Jerkins tells Variety. “When we weren’t recording, she was thinking about all that type of stuff, and I got a chance to see that side of her.”
Jerkins and fellow producer Jon Jon Traxx first came up with the concept for “Deja Vu” while driving to a 7-Eleven before a recording session. Michael Jackson’s “Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough” had come on the radio, and having previously worked with Jackson, Jerkins wanted to give Beyoncé something of that caliber.