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During the 1990s, Carey had recorded several albums influenced by pop, R&B and adult contemporary genres
Additionally, "Heartbreaker" marked the first time in Carey's career that a hip-hop star was included on a lead single, following O.D.B who was featured on the official remix of "Fantasy" in 1995
In the midst of Carey's development of "Rainbow" during the summer of 1999, she began producing several ideas, lyrics and melodies for the yet untitled lead single
In an interview with MTV News, Carey spoke of the song's remix before its official release in August 1999: "And the remix
The music video, directed by Brett Ratner, began airing on MTV on August 16, 1999 following its premiere on the network's "Making the Video" series
In the United States, "Heartbreaker" was released on September 21, 1999
It was released on September 21, 1999 by Columbia Records as the lead single from Carey's seventh studio album, "Rainbow"
On October 2, 1999, it entered the Dutch Single Top 100 at number sixteen, eventually peaking at number seven, and spending a total of eighteen weeks in the chart
In New Zealand, "Heartbreaker" was met with strong success, debuting at number four on October 10, 1999, and topping the singles chart the following week
Carey performed "Heartbreaker" and its accompanying remix at the MTV European Music awards, held on November 11, 1999 in Dublin, Ireland
She performed "Heartbreaker" and the Desert Storm remix at the MTV European Music awards, held on November 11, 1999 in Dublin, Ireland
The special aired on Fox on December 21, 1999 and featured Jay-Z live on stage for his verses
During the Angels Advocate Tour, the song was paired with Love Hangover by Diana Ross, and performed in a mash-up, the same as she did in VH1 Divas in 2000
It spent a total of thirteen weeks charting inside the chart, exiting on January 9, 2000