In their first musical collaboration, Jay-Z and Beyoncé put their own spin on 2Pac’s classic “Me And My Girlfriend”, only with a twist: while 2Pac was referring to his gun, Jay’s talking about his actual girlfriend. Due to the track’s content it was the first indication of Jay and Bey’s romantic status, spawning rumors about a burgeoning relationship. The track reached #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was, at the time, Beyoncé’s highest charting single as a solo artist.
Recorded in August 2002, Hov had implored producer Kanye West to create “the best beat you ever made.” While listening to The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory West realized how perfect the Pac sample would be:
So I went home and called my dog, E Base, who plays a lot of instruments up at Baseline for me and Just Blaze. I programmed the drums in 10 minutes, and then he played all the different parts. This version is all live bass, live guitars, live chords on it. I brought it to Hov that night, he heard it, he thought of the video treatment before he thought of the rap. He just knew it was gonna be the one.
Tensions arose during the conception of “‘03 Bonnie & Clyde” over the sampling of “Me and My Girlfriend,” as explained by Def Jam A&R Tina Davis in 2003:
We only had one day to clear the [2Pac] sample that was used. We were back and forth with Afeni Shakur all day until we got the clearance. And then it’s a hit.
This song is the fourth episode in the progression of Jay’s portrayal of women in his raps. As he told NPR:
I mean, a song on my first album was “Ain’t No Nigga.” […] It was like, this careless relationship. And then that went to “Big Pimpin” in ‘99. And on that same album was a song called “Song Cry,” and then “Song Cry” became “Bonnie & Clyde” on 2004, which became “Venus vs. Mars” on my last album. So there’s a steady growth in the conversations – that’s being had as it pertains to women, you know, as I grew.