Lil Wayne and DJ Khaled Reminisce on Betty Wright's 1974 Hit About Losing Virginity
Lil Wayne recalls realizing that the lyrics "mean something totally different" than what he first thought when he heard the song with his mom
Wright, 66, began her decades-long musical career at just 12 years old when she secured her first record deal. The Miami native, born Bessie Regina Norris, began topping charts in the early ’70s with her hit song “Clean Up Woman” that landed her the No. 2 spot on the R&B list and earned her an RIAA Gold record. She went on to release more than 10 top 20 hit songs.
In an all-new episode of TV One’s award-winning documentary series Unsung premiering Sunday, April 5 at 10 p.m. ET/9C, Wright tells her own story and details the difficult times when she battled adversity dealing with family tragedy, notorious label troubles and her fight to achieve mainstream success.
PEOPLE has a sneak peek at the season premiere of Unsung in which Lil Wayne, 37, and DJ Khaled, 44, reveal their adoration for the R&B singing sensation who once served as Beyonce’s vocal coach and whose steamy 1974 song about her first time became a fan favorite.
“There’s eras of the song in my life, the first is being in the backseat of a car. Your mom’s singing it and you’re singing right along with her,” Lil Wayne said of Wright’s track “Tonight is the Night.” “The second is you’re riding in that car alone and now you find those words meaning something totally different than what they meant when you were sitting in that backseat.”
The jam is all about having sex for the first time. “Tonight is the night / That you make me a woman / You said you’ll be gentle with me / And I, I hope you will,” Wright sings in the first verse.
“I’m nervous and I’m tremblin’ / Waitin’ for you to walk in / I’m tryin’ hard to relax / But I just can’t keep still, no,” she continues.
Speaking about the track, which was about a controversial topic for the ’70s, Wright said that audiences were accepting of her song because she was of age to address the subject. “By then I was an adult,” she recalled. “People could accept that from me. When I’m singing it, it was believable.”
Some credit Wright for opening the doors to allow women to express themselves sexually in their music at the time. For DJ Khaled, the song will always be a classic in his book.
“I’m talking about she just flowed — ‘Tonight is the Night’ is just super classic, incredible,” DJ Khaled said of the tune.
She’s also collaborated with stars including Larry Blackmon, Bobby Caldwell and Gloria Estefan whom she still works with currently. Wright is a dear friend of fellow star Chaka Khan and best friends with rapper Uncle Luke.
To catch Wright’s full story, tune in to TV One on April 5 at 10 p.m. ET/9C.