In 1992, Braxton signed a solo recording contract with LaFace Records, a joint venture between the producing duo Antonio "L.A." Reid and Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds from former recording group The Deele, and distributor Arista Records. Her subsequently released first two albums Toni Braxon (1993) and Secrets (1996) became critical and commercial hits and sold a combined 21 million copies, earning $170 million in worldwide sales. By late 1996, Braxton was still waiting for fair financial rewards. Her recording contract with LaFace was substantially below those of other recording artists and bound her to refund all kinds of expenses the label had financed in advance. In December 1997, after learning that she had accumulated more than $1 million in debts, Braxton became embroiled in a legal dispute with LaFace, when she filed a lawsuit asking to be freed from her long-term contractual obligations to the label. After then being counter-sued by the label for breach of contract, the singer eventually filed for bankruptcy protection in 1998. In 1999, Braxton mended her relationship with LaFace and the lawsuit was settled. Soon after, she released her third album The Heat (2000). A breakaway from the ballad-heavy and adult contemporary-oriented material on her previous albums, it sold four million copies worldwide and produced the Grammy Award-winning uptempo hit single "He Wasn't Man Enough."
The following year, Braxton released the commercially unrecognized Christmas album Snowflakes (2001) and began work on her next album More Than a Woman. A continuation of The Heat, it saw her reteaming with a variety of famed hip hop producers and rappers such as Irv Gotti, The Neptunes, Mannie Fresh, and Loon in favor of a "harder sound." In September 2002, while gearing up for the release of the album, Braxton discovered she was pregnant with her second child and she was subsequently forced to cancel many scheduled performances due to complications. Executives at Arista Records were reportedly frustrated with the timing of her second pregnancy since it prevented her from doing the extensive promotion for More Than A Woman, and though Braxton asked to push the album's release to 2003, the label refused. Released in November 2002, More Than A Woman garnered lackluster sales and failed to produce a hit single. Disappointed by its performance, which Braxton attributed to the little promotion activities that the Arista management had arranged for her due to her second pregnancy, she requested her manager Barry Hankerson to obtain a release for her from any future recording obligations to the label, and in March 2003, Braxton issued a press statement saying she was leaving Arista for Hankerson's Universal-distributed Blackground Records.