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Fighting Temptation

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"Fighting Temptation"
Photograph of four women who smile and look at the camera. From left to right, the first person is a brunette woman that wears a red dress. The second woman has red hair and wears a blue blouse, while the third wears an orange hat and a sweater of the same color. The fourth female outfit consist of a hip hop look (a baseball cap and shirt). Behind them a shrub is visible. Below the picture a large orange rectangle appears. On it, the words "Beyoncé", "Missy Elliott", "MC Lyte", and "Free", all written in white capital letters, are listed, and '"fighting temptation"' below them. At the right corner, "The Fighting Temptations: Music from the Motion Picture" is written in blue capital letters.
Single by Beyoncé, Missy Elliott, MC Lyte and Free
from the album The Fighting Temptations: Music from the Motion Picture
B-side "I Know"
Released July 5, 2003
Format CD single
Length 3:50
Producer(s) Elliott
Beyoncé singles chronology
"Crazy in Love"
(2003) Crazy in Love2003
"Fighting Temptation"
(2003) Fighting Temptation2003
"Baby Boy"
(2003) Baby Boy2003
Missy Elliott singles chronology
"Gossip Folks"
(2002) Gossip Folks2002
"Fighting Temptation"
(2003) Fighting Temptation2003
"Cop That Disc"
(2003) Cop That Disc2003
MC Lyte singles chronology
"It's All Yours"
(1998) It's All Yours1998
"Fighting Temptation"
(2003) Fighting Temptation2003
"Ride wit Me"
(2003) Ride wit Me2003

"Fighting Temptation" is a song recorded by American R&B singer Beyoncé and American female rappers Missy Elliott, MC Lyte, and Free in 2003. The song was used to promote the film The Fighting Temptations (2003), in which Beyoncé stars. It was composed by the Beyoncé, Missy Elliott, Lana Moorer, Marie Wright, Jonathan Burks, LaShaun Owens, Karriem Mack, and Walter Murphy. "Fighting Temptations" was released as the lead single from the soundtrack album of the movie on July 5, 2003 through Columbia Records and Sony Music Entertainment.

An R&B-funk song, "Fighting Temptation" samples Uncle Louie's "I Like Funky Music" (1979). Lyrically, the song makes reference to fighting against negativity in life as well as waiting for the right person before falling in love. Music critics generally received the song with positive reception. They complimented the theme of the song, the vocals of Beyoncé, and the verse-raps. "Fighting Temptation" received attention mainly in European countries, peaking at number eleven in the Netherlands and reaching the top fifty in Belgium as well as Switzerland. The accompanying music video for the song was directed by Antti Jokinen.


The song is basically about a group of women's strict "no sex" rule similar to a part of the film's plot where Lilly (played by Beyoncé) does not want to start a sexual relationship with her boyfriend Darrin played by (Cuba Gooding Jr.) right away.[1] However, in the film she assures him that they might start one in the near future but in the song, the women do not specify when they will be ready.[1]

Darrin, a shallow New York advertising executive, traveled to a small town in the deep south upon receiving word that his aunt has died and left him a sizable inheritance. Once in town, Darrin is informed that he will only receive the money if he successfully leads a local gospel group to victory at an upcoming competition.[1] Reluctant but strapped for cash, Darrin takes on the task of finding the best singers in town and shaping the group up. Along the way, he becomes acclimated to the town with the help of his cousin Lucius (played by Mike Epps) and meets Lilly, a single mother who not only possesses an incredible voice but also the ability to warm Darrin's cold heart.[1]

Although Gooding's character, Darrin, was in love with Beyoncé's character, Lilly, the latter did not always feel the same until later on in the film.[1] Near the end of the film, he proposes to her and she accepts. They eventually get married (offscreen) and within eighteen months they had a baby son together, making Darrin a father and also stepfather to Lilly's other son.[1]


"Fighting Temptation" appeared on the soundtrack album of The Fighting Temptations as well as in the movie.[2] As a whole, seven tracks featured the vocals of Beyoncé.[3] The latter has a starring role in the film, along with a choir made up of gospel, R&B and hip-hop recording artists. Faith Evans, Angie Stone, Melba Moore, Rev. Shirley Caesar, The O'Jays, Montell Jordan, T-Bone, and Zane are all seen on the film and perform on the soundtrack.[2] "Fighting Temptations" features additional vocals from American female rappers Missy Elliott, MC Lyte, and Free.[4]


The soundtrack single was written by Beyoncé, Missy Elliott, Lana Moorer, Marie Wright, Jonathan Burks, LaShaun Owens, Karriem Mack, Walter Murphy, and Gene Pistilli. Production was handled by Elliott.[4] "Fighting Tempation is an R&B-funk song with a fun vibe.[1] The song samples Uncle Louie's 1979 song "I Like Funky Music".[4] Heather Phares of Allmusic wrote that the song's lyrics make reference to a "celebration of ladies' night out and waiting for true love."[1] According to Dani Boobyer of the United Kingdom-based website, The Situation, "Fighting Temptation" has "a well worn message about striving for the best and fighting against negativity."[5] Ed Gonzalez of Slant Magazine found that Missy notices pleasure and joy in sins that make people go to church on Sundays, but in reality, the "party people" are no different from the churchgoers, who sin in their song and music.[6] Lastly, the song's strong female presence is only less than the song's religious arrogance.[6]


During a string of soundtrack releases, Beyoncé commented on the song with Billboard stating, "A lot of music was written especially for the film. At first I was concerned about the timing of the soundtrack, [because] my solo album was supposed to come out way before the movie. But then the solo album got delayed."[7] While later announcing the release of the soundtrack album in a press release, Beyoncé said:

Once you hear the song 'Fighting Temptation', and all the music in this film, you can't help but fall in love with it. You'll definitely get emotional. You might become happy or even sad, but your heart will get full. All the songs are touching and spiritual, and that's what the movie itself is like.[2]

"Fighting Temptations" serviced as a CD single in Germany on July 5, 2003.[8] It was sent to urban radio for airplay in the United States on August 18, 2003.[9]

Critical reception[edit]

Heather Phares of Allmusic wrote: "[...] the seven tracks that feature Beyoncé on her own or with other collaborators are more striking: in particular, the movie's title track, a surprisingly fun and funky celebration."[3] Dani Boobyer of The Situation (UK), commented that the soundtrack album "jumpstarts with the explosive 'Fighting Temptation' [...] setting R&B princess Beyoncé's sweet vocals against the hard sounds of Missy and MC Lyte's raps."[5] Ed Gonzalez of Slant Magazine wrote that Beyonce, MC Lyte and Free are not fighting temptations like the song's title says, but are looking for them.[6]

Chart performance[edit]

"Fighting Temptation" charted in mainland Europe in early 2004.[10] In the Netherlands it debuted at number twenty on the Dutch Top 40 in January 2004. The following week, it ascended to number thirteen, which became its peak position.[11] "Fighting Temptations" reached a high point of number thirty-seven on its sixth week on the Belgian Singles Chart (Flanders). It charted for a total of seven consecutive weeks until mid-April 2004.[12] On August 29, 2004, the single debuted and peaked at number forty-two on the Swiss Singles Chart.[10]

Music video[edit]

The accompanying music video for the song was directed by Antti Jokinen and it features Beyoncé, Elliott, MC Lyte and Free.[13] It was shot in an abandoned mansion nearby Los Angeles by the end of June 2003. Performance footage was seamlessly melded with clips from the movie.[13] On the set, Beyoncé expressed herself:

"Basically, it's kind of like a ladies' night 'cause it's all us females and the song is about basically all these temptations you have with this guy and you're kind of fighting it. The house came from the movie because it kind of reminds me a lot of the house that we filmed in for the movie."[13]


The video begins with Beyoncé in a red dress moving across a screen of multiple changing colors and then moves to multiple shots of Elliott rapping in a white and red jersey and matching hat, Lyte in a blue dress, and a church choir group. Next, Elliott is shown on roller skates in a white and black outfit rollerskating throughout the mansion. Shots are shown of Elliott in bed with a man and Beyoncé at a party with a guy and singing to the people there. As the song moves to Beyoncé singing the chorus, she is shown sitting on a bed and dancing in a room in a golden top and black shorts, while back at the party, she is singing for her lover and blowing him kisses. The song then moves to a verse by Mc Lyte and we see her dancing in the middle of a semi-circle of men wearing orange prison jumpsuits. Scenes of the movie and of Mc Lyte in front of an ever-changing background are intercut throughout this.

Beyoncé then sings the chorus again and dances in her red dress in front of the background. Mc Lyte and Free are seen at a backyard barbecue party as Mc Lyte's verse begins and she mingles with the party guests, with Elliott as the party DJ. Again, Beyoncé comes back to sing the chorus of the song, now at the barbecue party, with scenes of her dancing in a room of the mansion and scenes from the movie in which she is singing on a stage in front of a large audience with a group of people behind her. With the end of the final chorus, the song moves back to Elliott and Lyte, with the former on her rollerskates as in the beginning and the latter in front of the semi-circle of men. The video ends with the four of them sitting at a picnic table at the barbecue party as two small girls clap hands on the opposite bench.

Track listing[edit]

European CD Single[8]
1."Fighting Temptation"3:51
2."I Know"3:42


Chart (2003–04) Peak
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[14] 37
Germany (Official German Charts)[15] 54
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[11] 13
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[16] 42


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Matthew Tobey. "The Fighting Temptations". Allmovie. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved March 20, 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c Rebecca Murray. "'The Fighting Temptations (Music From The Motion Picture)' News". The New York Times Company. Retrieved March 20, 2011. 
  3. ^ a b Heather Phares. "The Fighting Temptations". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved March 20, 2011. 
  4. ^ a b c The Fighting Temptations (Media notes). Columbia Records. 2003. 
  5. ^ a b Dani Boobyer (September 9, 2003). "The Fighting Temptations : Soundtrack". The Situation (United Kingdom). Archived from the original on July 25, 2011. Retrieved March 21, 2011. 
  6. ^ a b c Ed Gonzalez (September 14, 2003). "The Fighting Temptations Original Soundtrack". Slant Magazine. Retrieved March 22, 2011. 
  7. ^ "Beyoncé Tempts Fans With More Movie Songs". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. October 11, 2003. p. 20. Retrieved March 20, 2011. 
  8. ^ a b "Fighting Temptation: Beyoncé/Missy Elliott/MC Lyte/Free: Musik" (in German). Amazon Germany. Amazon Inc. Retrieved March 21, 2011. 
  9. ^ "Urban – Week Of: August 18, 2003". Radio & Records. Archived from the original on March 15, 2012. Retrieved March 21, 2011. 
  10. ^ a b "Beyoncé, Missy Elliott, MC Lyte and Free – Fighting Temptation". Swiss Music Charts. Hung Medien. Retrieved March 21, 2011. 
  11. ^ a b "Fighting Temptation". Radio Veronica. Retrieved June 18, 2011. [permanent dead link]
  12. ^ "Beyoncé, Missy Elliott, MC Lyte and Free – Fighting Temptation". Ultratop 50. Hung Medien. Retrieved March 21, 2011. 
  13. ^ a b c Corey Moss (July 1, 2003). "Beyonce Throws Ladies' Night Party With Missy Elliott, MC Lyte, Free". MTV News. MTV Networks. Retrieved April 9, 2011. 
  14. ^ " – Beyonce – Fighting Temptation" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  15. ^ "Chartverfolgung / Beyonce / Single" (in German). Musicline (Germany). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. Retrieved March 21, 2011. 
  16. ^ " – Beyonce – Fighting Temptation". Swiss Singles Chart.