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The Cultural Legacy of Khia's 'My Neck, My Back (Lick It)'

It's time to appreciate one of the greatest one-hit wonders ever made.

12th Jan 2018 / 61 shares

You get an interesting response from a wide range of music fans when you refer to the cultural phenomenon that is Khia’s ‘My Neck, My Back (Lick It)’. An absolute guilty pleasure, the track serves as a cultural stamp of Southern Hip Hop which travelled round the world and left a raunchy trail.

Let me begin by stating that I love this song. So much. I am afraid to play it in front of anyone else and I pray to God my mum has never heard me listening to it but the crazily explicit lyrics do make me feel empowered as a woman.

I love how confidently she says things that most people would struggle to say beyond the bedroom, if at all. And I love that the song is clearly directed at women: ‘All you ladies pop yo’ pussy like this’. Khia wants every woman to have sexual pleasure, and that’s not a bad thing at all, even if the language is a little blunt. Khia’s classic is on my ‘feminist anthems’ playlist on Spotify, and for good reason. Honestly, the grossest thing about this song is its CD cover art, which you can easily (but regrettably) find on Google Images. However, keep in mind that it was the early 2000s in the American South and try to be forgiving.

Khia (pronounced Ky-yah not Kee-yah) released ‘My Neck, My Back (Lick It)’ in 2002 as the lead single from her album ‘Thug Misses’. It reached number 42 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart and, surprisingly, number 4 on the UK Official Chart two years later, staying at that position for three weeks. Speaking in an interview with MTV, Khia revealed that she had written the song in 15 minutes and that it was not her “favorite”. She was “kind of surprised that’s the song that everybody jumped on” but “I guess the world is just nasty and freaky like that”. I guess it is, Khia. But also the beat and melody are fire and I am starting to understand that producers and artists have come to the same realization.

The song is very catchy and it turns out that Khia’s masterpiece has been sampled 21 times. The song has recently come to mind because of Quality Control and City Girls’ 'Fuck That Ni**a' , named after a line from ‘My Neck, My Back.'

The 2017 track samples that repeated phrase throughout the song and interpolates part of the original’s melody. Most striking is the mimicry of Khia’s I’m-an-independent-woman-getting-what-the-hell-she-wants vibe, with lines like ‘say he love me all the time, I don’t even read the text’ and ‘give me the cash, fuck a wedding ring’. The song might be hard for some to listen to, because of the excessive use of the N-word and/or the piercingly thick southern accents of City Girls, but I still think it’s a certified banger. Raw attitude seems to be something Khia inspires - see if you can handle it below:

The instrumental for ‘My Neck, My Back’ has also recently been sampled on Saweetie’s breakout track ‘ICY GURL’. On a Genius ‘Verified’ YouTube video, Saweetie says she was tired of rapping over “boy beats” and wanted to “do something on a dope female record”. It isn’t just crazy confident women who have renewed Khia’s classic though: Three 6 Mafia sampled the track on ‘Squeeze It’ back in 2005 and Beenie Man made use of the song for his 2002 song ‘Red Red’. Surprisingly, there are a whole slew of weird electro-dance songs which also owe part of their existence to Khia; it turns out that music and sex transcend all cultural boundaries.

The song was covered by Miley Cyrus during a live performance at the height of her ‘I’m crazy, y’all’ façade:

A more inappropriate and entertaining cover comes from songwriter, Dan Henig, who performed an acoustic rendition of the track in an elderly people's home in Los Angeles:

And now, the memes and mashups. Let us not forget that ‘My neck, my back’ was the original ‘rain drop, drop top’ craze which swarmed the internet in late 2016 (can you believe that was over a year ago?). The most popular follow up to ‘my neck, my back’ seems to be ‘my anxiety attack’, which, though slightly concerning, satisfyingly fits with the melody.

Of the numerous musical mash-ups, my favourite combines ‘My Neck, My Back’ and the Thomas the Tank Engine theme song

The versatility of this song really proves itself as we watch Donald and Hilary break it down to Trump's version of the song (he's clearly a big fan):

No matter how it is used, 'My Neck, My Back’ is a gift that just keeps on giving. I heard it in the club last night and I felt so stupidly happy that this trash song lives on, still bringing people joy all these years later. Covers, memes, samples and interpolations, I am here for all of it, just as I am 100% here for music that celebrates sex-positivity and female-empowerment. All my ladies, do your damn thing and I hope you enjoy oral sex as much as Khia does. Also make yourselves a feminist playlist for when you’re feeling yourself (pun not intended) and make sure you include this cultural landmark. Khia will lead the way for women’s orgasms and sexual equality. 

Watch the classic video for 'My Neck, My Back' below:

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