20 Years Ago, Mariah Carey’s Rainbow Found Her Giving More Of Herself To Fans

By Mark Braboy

Just as 2019 has seen the growing dominance of visionary women in music like Billie Eilish, Megan Thee Stallion, and Kali Uchis, 1999 likewise set a glossy and explosive tone for the female future of hip-hop, R&B, and pop. On TV and radio, a litany of iconic visuals were on constant rotation: Missy Elliot’s “She’s a Bitch,” Britney Spears’s “…Baby One More Time” (still riding the wave of its ‘98 debut), and Destiny’s Child’s “Say My Name.” Mariah Carey, meanwhile, kicked off the era of the boldest album in her ‘90s catalog, Rainbow — which turns 20 this month — with twin statements: the captivating and mischievous “Heartbreaker” and the attitude-adjusting “Heartbreaker (Remix).”

Mariah’s boldness felt grounded in necessity. The then two-time Grammy-winning diva had written and recorded Rainbow during a rough and transformational period of her life. Over a year had passed since her nasty divorce from ex-husband/former Sony Music head Tommy Mottola, and she found herself at odds with the label as she continued to take more control of her sound and career. Yet her star continued to rise; “When You Believe,” her collaboration with Whitney Houston, won an Academy Award for Best Original Song in early 1999.

Mariah was also exposing more of herself to fans through her music, television interviews, and letters she posted to her website. She wrote candidly about her struggles in the industry, growing up as a biracial child, her tumultuous family life (as sung about on “Petals”), and making music for people who walked in her shoes. Out of those struggles came the most liberating and commercially successful album of her career at the time, despite its mixed reception from critics.

That liberation was right there in the name of the album. By Mariah’s account from a 1999 interview with Interview magazine, she came up with the title on a particularly rough day. “I was going into the studio in L.A., and there were two really clear rainbows, one on top of the other — I’d never seen that — and I was just having this really stressful day, which is standard for me,” she said. “But it was kind of indicative of my whole struggle, which is that there is light at the end of the tunnel, which hopefully is not a freight train.”

Finding that light at the end of the tunnel was the theme of Rainbow, a perfectly balanced musical tale of heartbreak and boot stomping. Mariah cut through with powerful ballads like the inspiring “Can’t Take That Away (Mariah’s Theme),” “Against All Odds (Take A Look at Me Now),” and “Thank God I Found You,” featuring 98 Degrees and Joe. But it was her heavy emphasis on hip-hop and R&B-infused tunes that led the charge, like the Usher-assisted “How Much.”

Her Billboard chart-smashing “Heartbreaker” with Jay-Z and its remix with Da Brat and Missy Elliott are remembered by fans as a joyous release from toxic romantic situations. “‘Heartbreaker’ was a nice record for me because at the time, I was dating a man and we broke up,” explained Jane, a Mariah fan since her self-titled 1990 debut. “For that song to be a happy version of a breakup song, it really did make an impact to where you felt better when you heard the song.”

After battling with Sony to make it a single, “Can’t Take That Away (Mariah’s Theme)” became one of Mariah’s most treasured Rainbow cuts, largely because it resonated with fans who had also experienced the adversities of being biracial. “My reality is that I grew up an interracial child,” Mariah said in a “lost” 1999 interview with an unnamed outlet that was preserved and uploaded on YouTube by fans. “The most important accomplishment that I made [is] when I read a card or a letter from a kid from Queens or wherever that says, ‘Thank you for giving me a role model as an interracial/mixed person [because] before you, I never knew that it was OK to be who I am. I never knew that I could make it or achieve what I achieved.’ When I was a little kid, I didn’t have that person who I identified with completely who made me feel like it was OK to be me.”

Keisha, a biracial woman from Chicago, found inspiration through Mariah’s own journey. “As a biracial woman, in general it’s hard to feel accepted. And I know a lot of people don’t think that because they assume, ‘Oh you’re light-skinned, you have good hair, you have it easy,’ and people put that on a pedestal. That’s only a portion of what you really go through. It’s hard to fit in when you’re only accepted in these different communities that you’re actually a part of when it’s convenient,” she said.

By enlisting a roster of hip-hop guests and collaborators — like Jermaine Dupri, DJ Clue and Ken “Duro” Ifill, Snoop Dogg, Jay-Z, Brian-Michael Cox, Kandi Burruss, and Craig B of No Limit’s Beats By Da Pound — Mariah also helped kick down the doors for rap music to be embraced within pop, even during Rainbow’s press run. She brought Da Brat with her when she took over an entire episode of TRL, and even performed “Heartbreaker (Remix)” alongside Missy on Oprah, which was unprecedented territory for hip-hop in the late ‘90s. Unsurprisingly, it resonated with and was a proud moment for young female hip-hop fans at the time.

“Mariah had broken so many barriers in that area and for us [young women] it was important. She used her sensuality in a coquettish way that wasn’t trashy and was more on the classy side with her album cover and music,” said Traci, a hip-hop lover who became a Mariah fan because of heavy rap infusion on Rainbow. “Also, watching the remix of ‘Heartbreaker’ meant a lot because it had all women. To have Da Brat and Missy together, that was huge because Mariah gets a lot of flack for having rappers appear [as guests], and she was like, ‘Well I’ma take it a step further and do all ladies.’”

Today, Rainbow’s themes of growing into yourself and finding the glow-up from heartbreak — while fusing pop with hip-hop and R&B — live on. Its resonance can be heard and felt in Ariana Grande’s thank u, next, Kehlani’s SweetSexySavage, and even Summer Walker’s Over It. And for others, the album’s lessons are still kept close to heart.

“We got to see a different side of Mariah [on Rainbow], and I think that was empowering for a lot of people because she touched on so many things that were important to us as women without saying it,” Keishia said. “We have to find strength in so many different avenues because we don’t always get that from people around us or our careers, families, or the people we’re in relationships with. Rainbow resonated in my spirit as one of those things that was going to help me build myself to the kind of woman that I wanted to be.”

Taylor Swift Talks The Lack Of ‘Creative Constraints’ While Making Lover

Taylor Swift has been pulverizing the charts of popular music for the last thirteen years. It’s amazing to think about just how far she’s come musically over the course of seven albums, evolving into a titan of the music industry and establishing control over her career pathway. In a new interview with Music Week, Swift opens up about the necessary advocacy for artists that comes with her status in the industry and how important it is to create a great place in music. In short, without it, there would be a lot of people out there getting screwed over. She also talked a bit about the idea of creative control at this point in her career and how it contributed to her most recent album, Lover.

It’s no secret that Swift is one of the biggest musicians in the world. As Spider-Man’s Uncle Ben said: “With great power comes great responsibility.” Realizing this (but most likely not from the previous quote), Swift has made it a mission to advocate for artists and creators at all levels, whether it’s for standing up labels, streaming services, or anything in between.

“I’m one of the only people in the artist realm who can be loud about it,” she said. “People who are on their fifth, sixth, or seventh album, we’re the only ones who can speak out, because new artists and producers and writers need to work. They need to be endearing and likable and available to their labels and streaming services at all times. it’s up to the artists who have been around for a second to say, ‘Hey guys, the producers and the writers and the artists are the ones who are making music what it is.’ And we’re in a great place in music right now thanks to them.”

Swift also talked briefly about Lover. The glitzy album, purified in pastels, is Swift at her most bold, buttery, and free. “In my previous situation, there were creative constraints, issues that we had over the years,” she said. “I’ve always given 100 percent to projects; I always over-delivered, thinking that the generosity would be returned to me. But I ended up finding that generosity in a new situation with a new label that understands that I deserve to own what I make.”

“That meant so much to be because it was given over to me so freely,” she said. “When someone just looks at you and says, ‘Yes, you deserve what you want after a decade or more of being told, ‘I’m not sure you deserve what you want,’ – there’s a freedom that comes with that. It’s like when people find ‘the one,’ they’re like, ‘It was easy, I just knew and I felt free.’ And that made me feel I could make an album that was exactly what I wanted to make.”

Check out Swift’s full interview in the link up

Selena Gomez Sweetly Reacts To Her First No. 1 Hit: ‘This Song Has My Whole Heart’

On October 23, Selena Gomez marked her return to music with her honest and heart-wrenching single “Lose You to Love Me.” Now, less than two weeks later, she’s topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart for the first time ever. And yeah, she’s pretty freakin’ stoked about it.

“WHAT? Omg!! thank you so much @billboardcharts for a first for me!!” the pop star wrote on her Instagram Stories today (November 4) when she found out the news. “I’m so grateful.” She also thanked the fans for listening to the track and for loving it as just much as she does. “Thank you guys for streaming and committing to this song!” she wrote. “It means the world to me! This song has my whole heart.”

Gomez also shared the triumph on her Instagram feed. “My first number 1!!” she captioned the photo. “This song is so dear to my heart. I’ve been working so hard to make this album as honest and fun as possible while remaining vulnerable enough to share where I am in life. I love you deeply and thank you so much for listening. I want to thank each and every person that was apart of this moment that I’ll never forget!”

Among those she wanted to thank are songwriters Julia Michaels and Justin Tranter, who not only co-wrote the track with Gomez, but who are also partly responsible for some of her older hits including “Good For You” and “Hands To Myself,” among others. For them, “Lose You to Love Me” marks their second No. 1 song as writers, following Justin Bieber‘s “Sorry” in 2016. “My soulmates who have changed my life since Good For You came out! I love SO much!!” Gomez wrote on a photo with her collaborators. “Thank you!!”

Instagram/Selena Gomez

Unsurprisingly, Michaels and Tranter were just as excited to find out that the song snagged the No. 1 spot. “To get to make honest music with people I love is already the dream,” Tranter tweeted. To have that music go number 1 is full on insanity. Thank you @selenagomez @juliamichaels @mattmanswe & @mrfredricksson for making music with me.” Michaels, on the other hand, couldn’t form quite as many words. “OMG I’M SOBBING,” she wrote simply.

Congratulations, Selena! After years of creating bona fide bops, this achievement feels well-deserved.

DaBaby Is His Own Secret Weapon

In a viral video from 2017, a rapper named DaBaby wears a gigantic diaper — very on brand. He’s shirtless, a towel over his head and Air Jordan 9s on his feet, scrolling his phone with a double cup in his hands. His entourage all wear shirts with a baby on them while South by Southwest attendees walk nearby. DaBaby turns to the camera, grinning at the ingenuity of his name. “DaBaby, DaBaby, DaBaby, DaBaby,” he chants before returning to sipping his cup.

At the time, this moment was the headline and the punchline: a rapper, wearing a diaper, is demanding attention. But now, DaBaby — whose sophomore album Kirk debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 last month — has it, and not because of the diaper. Instead, his charisma, looks, personality, and so much more that have made him one of rap’s brightest stars in 2019.

This year, DaBaby’s seen 20 songs chart on the Billboard Hot 100. He’s making reportedly six figures per feature — he’s racked up dozens of them, including on tracks with Post Malone and Gucci Mane as well as remixes with Lizzo and Lil Nas X — and he’s become perhaps the most prominent face of XXL‘s Freshman Class of 2019. You may know him from “Suge,” the perky and reckless platinum single from his debut studio album. It came with a hilarious video that channeled the comedic genius of both Ludacris and Busta Rhymes. But the music itself carries so much of what makes DaBaby a magnetic figure.

DaBaby’s high-octane brand of rap radiates confidence. His style feels like he’s telling jokes in a crowded high-school lunchroom, not letting laughs interrupt him as he hits punchline after punchline. Nowhere is this more visible (sonically and visually) than in the video for “Vibez,” where he smirks while screaming the verse as ladies attempt to rip him to shreds so that they can all get a piece. His music is a reflection of him as a person, and it’s easy to see why so many people have become fans.

Long before DaBaby’s music was floating down your timeline this year, you probably saw his face. The 27-year-old rapper frequently went somewhat viral for his perfectly symmetrical face, sharp jawline, and classically handsome appearance. Combine the fact that he wears clothes fitted to his muscular physique, is always groomed with a small mustache and goatee to maintain a youthful appearance (he also revealed that he just can’t grow a beard) and is never seen without a fresh haircut, and you have a winning recipe for visual marketability.

“DaBaby’s physical appeal adds to his hype in the same manner teenage girls created mania in the 2000s for B2K and Bow Wow, building a fandom beyond the music,” says freelance journalist and DaBaby stan DeMicia Inman. “The allure of him makes some fans want a chance with him and others want to adapt his mannerisms to build their own roster of hopeful romantics.”

Looks aside, it’s also important to see that he’s been orchestrating this kind of takeover from the start. DaBaby started rapping in 2015 under the name Baby Jesus and released his first mixtape, Nonfiction. He abandoned the controversial name in 2017 around the time that he wore the diaper to SXSW. It was a wild look, but it worked: People started talking more about him, wondering who this wild guy was. In a recent interview with “The Breakfast Club,” DaBaby called the stunt “premeditated” marketing and compared it to Tekashi 6ix9ine’s rainbow-colored hair. It showed that he was cognizant of the current rap and viral climates and he knew how to navigate them. That would come into play as he continued his ascent.

Look at your timeline again. If you don’t immediately see DaBaby, keep scrolling. Eventually, you’ll likely find a video from popular video app Triller that depicts DaBaby dancing to one of his songs, showing off his teeth and, most likely, some confident and sexy moves. There’s this one, where he waltzes around a hotel with his chains on, and this one, in which he dances around (also shirtless) with his kids. He’s made Triller, which has been around since 2015, into a necessity for rising rappers looking to show off how much they like to have fun with their music.

Earlier this month, he collaborated with a social-media comedian Jeffrey Obenga, also known as Mufasa and Cousin Skeether, and walked and jumped across streets while sparking blunts and having a good time. It’s been constantly shared on newsfeeds since. “I did a funny dance video to his song two weeks before and he reposted it,” Obenga says. “A few weeks later, I went to his meet and greet in D.C. and once he walked out, he recognized me from the video. He thanked me for making the video and told me how dope it was, then came up with an idea to do a video for his new song ‘Bop.'”

Accessibility is at the heart of DaBaby’s charisma. Because he’s so open and honest with his portrayal of his character, it’s easy to identify with. It’s similar to the 2019 lightning strike of Megan Thee Stallion, who shows love to people she respects, communicates with fans through different social media channels, and shows she’s also a goofball that can have fun. It’s no wonder that the two have collaborated before — their team-up on “Cash Shit” shows how they can both stand on tables and control the sway of a party through demands and barking lyricism — and in a recent interview, DaBaby said that he’d love to make a joint album with Megan.

In the meantime, we have Kirk, an introspective album about having fun that distills DaBaby’s entire appeal down to 13 songs. It’s no accident that he’s the focus of the room, in real life and through screens, whenever he enters. In this way, he really is like a baby — no diaper needed. You just can’t look away.

Kacey Musgraves Is Bringing You Holiday Cheer With A Celeb-Filled TV Special

This holiday, you’ll be able to celebrate the most festive time of year with Kacey Musgraves. The singer announced today (November 4) that she’s bringing a new program, the Kacey Musgraves Christmas Show, to Amazon Prime Video. The announcement is pretty tight-lipped about what’s actually going on, but the long list of special guests that it will feature shows that there’s going to be something here for everyone. The fun kicks off on November 29.

Musgraves posted a trailer for her show on Instagram in which she sits in a Christmas-decorated room with a wide array of other people decorate for, what looks like, her show. Christmas is in the air! After we see all of the seasonal apparel, the show’s lengthy guest list flashes on the screen and it includes Lana Del Rey, Troye Sivan, Camila Cabello, Kendall Jenner, and more. “My new special, “The Kacey Musgraves Christmas Show,” is coming to you full of festive musical and comedic moments featuring many of the incredible talents you know and love (including my actual Nana!)” she wrote in the accompanying caption.

Musgraves released her fourth studio album, The Golden Hour, last year. It won her Album of the Year and Best Country Album at the 61st Grammy Awards. Earlier this year, she dropped a peaceful and psychedelic video for “Oh, What A World.”

Check out Musgraves prepare for the holidays in the trailer for her new show up above.

Frank Ocean Trolls The World With The Remix To A Yet-To-Be Released Song

Frank Ocean is like an evil villain, leaving fans morsel after morsel of what nefarious deed that he’s going to do next. These deeds, for him, are singles, that are hopefully leading up to a new project. The latest glimpse at this is “Little Demon” a track that has an odd distinction compared to Frank’s other singles: it’s the only release in recent memory where the remix came out before the actual song. So, in other words, here’s the remix to “Little Demon” that features producer Arca and Skepta.

If it’s confusing, imaging untangling it to write. During Frank’s latest episode of Blonded Radio on Beats 1, he launched a pre-order for “Little Demon.” The B-side of the 7″ single featuring the remix to it with Arca was released instead, because who’s Frank without a bit of mystery? It’s hard to imagine exactly what the original sounds like, too, because Arca’s version deconstructs the musicality to elementary blocks, then rebuilds it by smashing everything together. There aren’t too many words to exactly describe this beautiful, rickety ruckus; voices that could belong to rogue Skynet AI  swim against the violent current of synths for one hell of a mix.

If you’re keeping score, this is the third new track from Frank to drop in the past few weeks. He dropped “DHL” last month and “In My Room” a couple of days ago.

Check out the technologically arcane “Little Demon” remix up above.

Why Harry Styles Fans Are ‘Patiently Waiting For Something To Happen’

Harry Styles set Twitter ablaze on Sunday (November 3) with a single tweet that simultaneously revealed so much and so little. Before we continue, you should know that nothing major has happened quite yet. However, it seems like something major could (and will) happen at any moment, so it’s probably a good time to turn on those Harry Styles Twitter alerts. That is, if they’re not on already.

For those wondering, the tweet in question was merely a link to a website that fans first became familiar with prior to the release of Styles’s latest single, “Lights Up.” The site was formerly a random compliment generator, but instead of dishing out compliments, the site is now showing fans an alternate message. “YOU ARE PATIENTLY WAITING FOR SOMETHING TO HAPPEN,” it reads. “TPWK. LOVE, H.”

Styles could be teasing anything from a new single to a full-length album to a 2020 tour, and what exactly he has planned is anyone’s guess. What we do know is that the singer spoke about his upcoming album in his Rolling Stone cover story from September, calling it his “toughest” and “most soulful” LP yet. And just last week, on October 30, he revealed to Capital FM that he wants to tour “next year, maybe, potentially,” adding that he hasn’t “announced that yet.” Last but not least, there was that mysterious tweet about “Watermelon Sugar” that he posted on October 22.

Of course, Styles could be teasing any combination of single, album, and tour. And ever since he first posted the tweet yesterday afternoon, fans have been responding with their own theories about what it could be that they’re “patiently waiting for.”

Clearly, fans came up with some pretty great theories. But if you really want to know what Styles has up his sleeve, it sounds to us like you’re going to have to keep “patiently waiting for something to happen.” Good luck!

Halsey Turned The EMA Stage Into A Fiery Fantasyland With ‘Graveyard’ Performance

You might think that, just a few days after Halloween, Halsey would give “Graveyard” a spooky, gothic performance at the 2019 MTV EMA. But at the awards show on Sunday night (November 3), the Best Pop winner channeled the track’s carnival-set music video for a live set that was colorful, surreal, and utterly fantastical.

As she launched into the vulnerable single — which is all about seeing a toxic relationship through to the end — Halsey appeared on the back of a carousel horse, wearing a flowing white dress that made her look like a legit fairy. Once she dismounted, there was no keeping her still; she ran and twirled barefoot around the stage, which lit up with vibrant florals. As “Graveyard” hit its climactic final chorus, the stage behind Halsey burst into orange flames, and her unicorn-filled fantasyland caught fire in the most breathtaking way.

Dua Lipa’s “Don’t Start Now” performance — which kicked off the 2019 EMA — was all about strength in numbers, but Halsey’s was a solo adventure that kept us on our toes the entire time.

The 2019 MTV EMA are underway in Seville, Spain. See the full list of winners right here, and follow all the action on MTVEMA.com!

Dua Lipa Performs ‘Don’t Start Now’ With An Army Of Dancers At The 2019 EMA

On the MTV EMA red carpet on Sunday night (November 3), Dua Lipa teased that she would be “doing something I haven’t done before” for her opening performance. And that proved to be absolutely true once the pop superstar hit the stage to kick off the evening with “Don’t Start Now.”

For the first-ever awards show performance of her new single, Lipa brought along dozens of dancers, all dressed in eye-popping yellow leotards. The singer stood out in a black cutout ensemble of her own, standing center stage as her posse surrounded her on all sides. As she hit every note of the disco-inspired “Don’t Start Now” — which just arrived on Friday alongside a clubby video — the stage lights turned a bright red, and Lipa strutted out front to perform some killer choreography (there was even a chair involved, so you know she meant business!).

She finished her performance with a confident look that practically screamed, “yeah, I crushed this.” Not a bad way to launch the #DL2 era!

The 2019 MTV EMA are underway in Seville, Spain. See the full list of winners right here, and follow all the action on MTVEMA.com!

2019 MTV EMA Winners: See The Full List

The 2019 MTV EMA have landed in Seville, Spain! All your fave global-dominating artists are on deck for Europe’s biggest music bash, where they’re hoping to take home some shiny new hardware.

Ariana Grande is the top contender this year, leading the pack of nominees with 7 nods total (to match her “7 rings,” obviously). She faces stiff competition in categories like Best Artist, where she’s up against Miley Cyrus, Taylor Swift, Shawn Mendes, and J Balvin. Meanwhile, EMA newbies like Billie Eilish and Lil Nas X are hoping to take home a trophy or two — so these categories are really anyone’s game.

The star-studded awards show, hosted by Becky G, features live performances from Halsey, Niall Horan, Dua Lipa, Ava Max, Green Day, and more. Not to mention, Liam Gallagher will pick up the first-ever Rock Icon Award and will take the stage for his own must-see performance.

We’ve tracked all the winners, including key categories like Best Song, Best Video, and Best Group. Keep it locked here as the winners are announced Sunday night (November 3) — and stream all the action on MTVEMA.com!


Ariana Grande

Billie Eilish

Lil Nas X


Taylor Swift


Alessia Cara

Avril Lavigne

Carly Rae Jepsen

Johnny Orlando

Shawn Mendes


Ariana Grande, “thank u, next”

Billie Eilish, “bad guy”

Lil Nas X ft. Billy Ray Cyrus, “Old Town Road” (Remix)

ROSALÍA, J Balvin ft. El Guincho, “Con Altura”

Taylor Swift ft. Brendon Urie of Panic! At The Disco. “ME!”


Ariana Grande

J Balvin

Miley Cyrus

Shawn Mendes

Taylor Swift


Ariana Grande, “7 rings”

Billie Eilish, “bad guy”

Lil Nas X ft. Billy Ray Cyrus, “Old Town Road” (Remix)

Post Malone, Swae Lee, “Sunflower”

Shawn Mendes, Camila Cabello, “Señorita”


BTS, Halsey, “Boy With Luv”

Lil Nas X, Billy Ray Cyrus, “Old Town Road” (Remix)

Mark Ronson, Miley Cyrus, “Nothing Breaks Like a Heart”

ROSALÍA, J Balvin ft. El Guincho, “Con Altura”

Shawn Mendes, Camila Cabello, “Señorita”

The Chainsmokers, Bebe Rexha, “Call You Mine”


Ava Max

Billie Eilish

Lewis Capaldi

Lil Nas X




Ariana Grande

Becky G

Camila Cabello


Jonas Brothers

Shawn Mendes


Ariana Grande


Ed Sheeran


Travis Scott


Green Day

Imagine Dragons

Liam Gallagher

Panic! At The Disco

The 1975


21 Savage

Cardi B

J. Cole

Nicki Minaj

Travis Scott


FKA twigs

Lana Del Rey


twenty one pilots

Vampire Weekend


Calvin Harris

DJ Snake


Martin Garrix

The Chainsmokers


WINNER: Halsey

J Balvin

Lil Nas X




Ariana Grande


Billie Eilish

Shawn Mendes

Taylor Swift


Ava Max

Billie Eilish



Jade Bird

Juice WRLD

Kiana Ledé


Lewis Capaldi





Bebe Rexha: Isle of MTV Malta 2019

Hailee Steinfeld: Isle of MTV Malta 2018

Muse: Bilbao, Spain 2018

The 1975: Lollapalooza Paris Festival 2019

twenty one pilots: Lollapalooza Paris Festival 2019


Lewis Capaldi



Ed Sheeran

Little Mix (Social Wildcard Winner)