“I’m a Slave 4 U” is a song by American pop singer Britney Spears released as the lead single from her third studio album, Britney. It was released as a single on September 24, 2001 in the United States and in October of the same year in the rest of the world. Written and produced by the R&B-hip hop duo The Neptunes, the urban-influenced song was a commercial success and was also well-received by the critics.
It is notably remembered for its accompanying provocative music video and the infamous performance Spears delivered at the 2001 MTV Video Music Awards in New York City, which was highly criticized by animal rights group PETA for the inclusion of exotic animals.
The music video was shot on a soundstage in Universal City, California, over Labor Day weekend, under the direction of Francis Lawrence, and is one of her most risqué videos ever. It made its world premiere on MTV’s “Making the Video” on September 24 at 5 p.m. EST, the same day the song officially hit the American radio stations, and debuted at #1 on Total Request Live two days later. Some of the dancing was choreographed by Puerto-Rican dancer Mayte Garcia, who taught Spears bellydancing for the video.
In the video, Spears and fifteen dancers employ the same choreography seen in her 2001 VMA performance, which was made by famous choreographer Wade Robson, only this time the group is dancing in an underground Asian bath house. Spears is portrayed as a slave to the music who dances all day until she and the other dancers are sweaty and near dehydration, forcing them to search for water. Two alternative versions of the video clip can be found on the Greatest Hits: My Prerogative DVD released on November 9, 2004.
The music video was nominated in three categories at the 2002 MTV Video Music Awards for Best Female Video, Best Dance Video, and Best Choreography. The video clip for “I’m a Slave 4 U” ranked #1 in the list of the “50 Sexiest Music Videos of All-Time” published by Canadian music channel MuchMusic in 2007.