Britney Spears' 'Slave 4 U': The Story Behind The Video

'Slave' is facing off against 'Criminal' in the finals of MTV News' Britney Spears tournament — vote now!

The competition was stiff in MTV News' Britney Spears Tournament: 30 Videos for 30 Years, but we're finally at the homestretch.

After narrowing 30 videos down to the final two — Brit's sweaty, old-school clip for "I'm a Slave 4 U" and her newer, equally sexy one for "Criminal" — it's all up to fans to decide which video will reign supreme on Friday (December 2), Britney's 30th birthday.

But before you cast your vote, let's take a deeper dive into the Francis Lawrence-directed video for "Slave."

Up until the raw clip, Britney's sex-kitten antics had been reserved for the PG set, but with "Slave 4 U," the singer launched herself into full-on sex-siren status. Appearing in the video drenched in sweat, it was the most provocative look (including her thong over her jeans!) that the then 19-year-old vixen had ever given her audience.

Spears told MTV during a taping of "Making The Video" that the theme of the song and the video, which put Spears right in the middle of a sexy dance party (with an appearance by celeb DJ du jour DJ Skribble), really matched who she was at the time.

"We're in Los Angeles shooting my first single off my new album," she said of the clip, shot over Labor Day weekend in 2001. "It's basically saying 'I'm a slave for the music.' Like, when you go into a club, you can't help yourself; you're enraptured in it. When I go to a club, I can't just sit there and chit-chat. I'd much rather be on the dance floor, just dancing. And that's what the song's talking about."

Lawrence, who would later go on to direct Spears in 2008's "Circus" as well, wanted the video to move far beyond the sleek dance clubs of L.A. or New York. He wanted it to go global. "I came up with this concept of having this club be in this abandoned Asian bath house and having it be filled with young world travelers, the kind of people who would go to these far exotic places to go to a place like this."


Head over to Britney30.MTV.com and vote for your favorite music video in MTV News' Britney Spears Tournament: 30 Videos for 30 Years.

Many of Spears' clips up until "Slave" had been very high-concept. This one, however, focused on Spears and her dance moves. "Really, the concept of the video, it's not this deep, drawn-out concept story line," she said. "It's just me going to a really cool club, the kind of club that you watch on TV and [you go], 'I wish I was there.' "

Lawrence added, "Everything we do incorporates a lot of dance, every little vignette [is] all really done through dance."

The video, which debuted in September of that year, follows Spears as she makes her way through the club, dancing and sweating the night away. As the party progresses, anything and everything that can hydrate the revelers has completely disappeared. So Spears and her pals take the party elsewhere.

"I walk in, and everyone's just hanging out. Everyone's in their own world," she said. "And it ends up being really, really late and the sun comes up, and we're all out of drinks, and we get really thirsty and it's raining, and we drink the water."

Do you think "Slave" or "Criminal" should come out on top? Let us know in the comments!

What's your favorite Britney video? Make sure to vote at Britney30.MTV.com or the MTV Newsroom blog, and share your picks in the comments below!