Today’s From The Vault pick is lifted from Whitney Houston’s criminally-underrated ‘Just Whitney’ album, which was released 20 years ago this week.
We give you ‘Watchulookinat’.
The early 2000s were quite a storied period of time in the life of the dynamic diva. Indeed, while the window started with her dominating the worldwide charts, she magnetized the eyes of the masses for reasons that weren’t music-related… but we won’t go there today.
In 2002, Nippy made a move to silence the naysayers and flip the script with the unapologetic ‘Whatchulookinat’.
Produced by then-husband Bobby Brown and co-written by Houston, it packed a certain aggressiveness absent from her previous work and was a plea for the world to let her live her life as best as she could.
Sadly for the song – and parent album – chart success wasn’t on the cards. Indeed, the track peaked at #96 on the US Hot 100 and #75 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop tally. It fared better internationally though, scoring commendable Top 20 placings in the UK, Canada, Italy, Spain, and Portugal.
A critique of paparazzi culture of sorts, the song’s music video was directed by Kevin Bray. The action took place inside of a disposable camera used by comedian Mike Epps to capture Houston as she’s stepping out of the recording studio with friend Faith Evans.
Fun fact: Migos member Offset is featured as one of the many young background dancers surrounding Whitney.
20 years on, it’s even more unclear why this tune got overlooked as it sits perfectly alongside the revered singles from the chanteuse’s previous project ‘My Love Is Your Love.’
While it wasn’t groundbreaking thematically nor sonically, the ‘Just Whitney’ album had some great moments – namely this very track, ‘One Of Those Days’, ‘Tell Me No’ and ’Try It On My Own’ – which were clearly tailored for world domination, if it wasn’t for the unfortunate climate it was released in.
Whitney, we thank you, we miss you, and we’ll always love you.