''Butterfly'' is the sixth studio album by American R&B singer-songwriter Mariah Carey, released on September 16, 1997 by Columbia Records. ''Buttefly'' became a fusion of Hip-Hop and R&B sounds, as well as some softer and more contemporary melodies. Throughout the project, Carey worked with writing partner, Walter Afanasieff, with whom she co-wrote most of the material in her previous albums. Aside from Afanasieff, she worked with many famed hip-hop producers and rappers, such as Sean Combs, Kamaal Fareed, Jean Claude Oliver and Samuel Barnes from Trackmasters and Missy Elliott. With the latter acts helming the album's production, ''Butterfly'' was able to further deviate from the repeated formula of Carey's older work, as well as hailing as one of the defining albums of the 1990's and Hip-Hop and R&B music.
Upon release, the album received positive reviews from music critics, who embraced Carey's musical transformation, calling it a masterpiece. Reviewers complimented the album for its mature sound and production, as well as commending Carey's musical direction, calling it a "transitional album, one that makes her a rarity of the 90's." ''Buttefly'' was an life-altering album for Carey, continuing the transformation that began with her previous release, ''Daydream''. The album led Carey into a more Hip-Hop and R&B sound, further leading her away from her contemporary-pop background. Though released during Carey's conflict with Sony Music, the album became a commercial success, topping the charts in Australia, Japan and the Netherlands. On the US ''Billboard'' 200, the album debuted at number one, spending one week atop the chart. ''Butterfly'' was nominated for three Grammy Awards, although not winning either nomination. ''Butterfly'' was certified five-times platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), as well as receiving the Million Award in Japan.
Five singles were released from the album. "Honey," the album's debut single, reached the top-five in Canada, New Zealand, United Kingdom and Spain and became Carey's twelfth chart topper in the US. The album's fourth single, "My All," became a top-ten hit throughout Europe, and won Carey her thirteenth number-one single in the US, surpassing Madonna as the female with the most number-ones on the Hot 100. To support the album, Carey embarked on her "Butterfly World Tour," which visited Australia, Japan and Taiwan, with one show in the United States. In the booklet from Carey's twelfth studio album, ''Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel'', Carey stated that she considered ''Butterfly'' her magnum opus, and viewed it as a serious turning point in her life.