Pre-Michelle: The Last Year The Original Destiny’s Child Was Together

by (@sllambe)

5th Lady of Soul Awards

The year was 1999 and it felt like anything could happen. (For the most part it did.) One of the breakouts of the year was a group comprised of Beyoncé Knowles, Kelly Rowland, LaTavia Roberson and LeToya Luckett known as Destiny’s Child. For many fans, it was the first time they even heard of or really listened to the group. But for longtime fans, the ones who knew them from their “Killing Time” days, this was just the next chapter in the girls’ story.

Formed in 1996, the Destiny’s Child had been steadily building an empire, chipping away at the success of girl groups before them. With many of the ’90s acts on the way out, there was only TLC to contend with. But just as quickly as it started, it was over. Like we said: it was 1999, the last year the original line up of Destiny’s Child was together.

January: Riding the Wave

In 1997, Destiny’s Child released their debut single. It wasn’t until the beginning of 1998 that the group saw real success with their lead single, “No, No, No.” The song eventually hit number 1 in March and benefited from a hypnotic remix produced by Wyclef Jean. By the end of the year, the single went platinum, the group had firmly established it’s name and picked up the first of many trophies (to come) at the Lady of Soul Awards. Take a moment to appreciate “No, No, No Pt 2,” arguably a single ahead of its time.

February/March: Filler Tracks

Even though the girls were working on their sophomore album, they were still in demand. The group was selected to contribute new music to two soundtracks, Life (“Stimulate Me”) and The PJs (“No More Rainy Days”), which were both released in March. Meanwhile, MTV included “No, No, No Pt. 2″ on its hit dance complication, Party to Go 1999. The compilation recapped the best music of ’98 while acting as a seat filler until fans had new music to chomp on. Seriously though, the MTV Party to Go compilation was all the music anyone needed at the time.

April/May: In the Studio

Following the success of ’98, DC quickly went back into the studio, spending a better part of the year working on The Writing’s on the Wall. They partnered with producer Kevin “She’kspere” Briggs who was having a big year himself thanks to TLC‘s “No Scrubs.” The song wet the appetite for women empowerment anthems that year. Fans were suddenly ready to kick their no-good men to the curb, especially if they couldn’t pay their own way.

June: The Meteoric Rise

Seemingly out of nowhere, DC landed on the map. Even though the group had made their mark just a year earlier, it was “Bills, Bills, Bills” that suddenly pushed them into the mainstream. The single debuted at the beginning of the summer on June 15 and within five weeks, it dethroned Jennifer Lopez‘s “If You Had My Love” from the top spot. Even though the video never made a dent in the TRL countdown, it was played everywhere. Who doesn’t remember Beyonce, Kelly (with a super close, pink crop), LeToya and LaTavia in their matching pink outfits (no doubt designed by Tina Knowles) dancing around a hair saloon? Getting weave had never been so fierce.

As fans became enamored with DC, their sophomore album officially dropped on July 28. The Writing’s on the Wall sold 132,000 copies in the first week, landing it at no. 6 on the Billboard 200. While they had yet to make it onto TRL, their video was featured on the show’s “End of Summer Countdown” at 31, cementing DC as the girl group of the summer.

September: The Featured Artist

As their rise into superstardom continued, the group found themselves making appearances on red carpets, at award shows and on other artists’ tracks. 50 Cent jumped on the bandwagon first with “Thug Love,” from his debut album Power of the Dollar. That featured appearance was followed by a spot on Jessica Simpson‘s debut album, Sweet Kisses. The girls embarrassed Simpson on the track, “Women In Me.” Although, whoever thought of DC as a group of backup singers needs to be shot.

Check out this awesomely bad tribute video:

October: The TRL Debut

After rising to the top of the charts, it was time for DC to take over Total Request Live. “Bug A Boo” became the group’s first video to land them on the countdown where it stayed for two months, peaking at number 5. The video continued the girls’ ‘no need for a man who can’t do them right’ attitude and introduced fans to Beyonce in a cowboy hat. (Those were the days!)

The group quickly rounded out the year with a number of accolades including more Soul Train Awards and two Grammy nominations for “Bills, Bills, Bills” (Best R&B Song and Best R&B Performance by Duo or Group).

December: The Beginning of the End

However, by December, things started getting shaky. In-fighting had started among the group’s members. At some point during the year, Beyonce threw shade at an unknowing Kelly Rowland in a TV interview, which was later captured on Vine.

But more importantly, LeToya and LaTavia made it clear they were not happy with Beyonce’s father, Mathew Knowles, managing the group. The two announced that they were seeking outside management as a result of Knowles’ keeping a disproportionate share of the group’s profits. While never intending to leave the group, the end was nye. The duo had written their fate because in less than two months later they would be out.

February: Farrah FranklIN

On February 15, 2000, the world (including LeToya and LaTavia) learned that two of the members had been replaced. The original lineup that formed years before was no more. Instead, Michelle Williams and blink-and-you’ll-miss Farrah Franklin stepped in. The two girls made their first appearance in the group in the music video for “Say My Name.” The unjust and unapologetic ousting happened just like that.

The year 1999 was over and so was the original Destiny’s Child. Fin.

[Photo: Getty]