By K.B. Tindal
Hip Hop Vibe Staff Writer
Eleven years ago, the world was introduced to Southern femcee, Khia. She broke the door down with “My Neck, My Back.” Khia’s breakout single has gone down in history as one of the most-memorable summer anthems ever. This was proven when Lil Wayne referenced the song on Tha Carter III.
Khia has remained a figure in the rap game, providing commentary on many of the biggest stars. A very vocal critic, Khia can be very supportive, especially when she sees a kindred spirit. Many were surprised to see her on the remix of “We Can’t Stop” by Miley Cyrus, but the two connected over similar interests.
With that, plus Khia’s Love Locs project, Hip Hop Vibe decided to reach out to here to get her take on things. Hip hop is forever evolving and Hip Hop Vibe got Khia’s take on the game. She also jumped on the biggest anthem of the summer, so Khia talked about that series of events led to her and Miley Cyrus doing the “We Can’t Stop” remix.
Read the entire interview below:
How do you feel about the drastic changes the music industry has gone through? I haven’t really noticed the change, I guess (laughs). I came in the game as an independent artist with success most would dreamed of. But, I have noticed a lot of major independent artists emerging and major ones going independent. They must be catching on because there is not much control as a major label artist because they organize everything themselves. On the business side of it, I love and embrace independence. I have had success from day one, so I did not notice much change.
There are some debates on social networks about this being a new golden era, do you agree with this? I don’t know about that either. But, it is a golden era in artists doing independent branding. On that note, it is a new era with SoundCloud, iTunes, and the other outlets to market and promote music. I think the digital age is a new era, but I don’t know about a hip hop golden era, but the digital era has changed all of music.
Though you have done much more, people particularly know you for one song, is this something you embrace? I embrace it. To have a record like that, my first song off my first album, to be recognized worldwide and to still be getting booked off that one song is amazing. A lot of artists do not have one song they can fall back on after five albums. This is one hit, but it made hip hop history and I will embrace it and perform it forever. I can do this music for the love of it and on my own rules because of this one song.
Do you feel the game is ready for a Khia comeback? A comeback? Where have I been? That is a word I really am not fond of. I never went anywhere, but the focus shifted from me. But, I have a lot of other music that is out that does not get radio play. But, when it comes to my actual fans, they have been with me the entire time, my fans have been my marketing and promotion the entire time. They do my artwork, my covers, my flyers, my website. My fans know I am independent and they hold me down. The people always wonder what I am going to do next, my people, my fans. So, this is not a comeback, this is my fifth album.
Can you talk about your recent release, MotorMouf? Well, MotorMouf aka Khia Shamone was released last year. It is doing well and it was my first hip hop/R&B record. I am glad the record is doing well and that fans accepted my change from my hardcore stance to this R&B-style. I have grown over ten years, so I decided to evolve. This album was my first representing this change and the fans loved it so much.
I have been on the road nonstop, doing shows all over and doing venues that I would not have been able to do. But, my next album, Love Locs, is due on November 8, continuing this trend. This album is just me, but me for the grown and sexy, so it is not about some of the other popular music. But, the live instruments and poetry is here with this new music, so it is hip hop on a mature level. I am excited about being able to do this now.
As an artist, how do you feel you have evolved since your previous project? What I mean by that, is I am always hardcore, I am Thug Misses. That comes with both hardcore and the soft, two different versions of Khia, but it’s still me. But, I was in my twenties when I came out and I’m in my thirties now. So, I have branched out into singing, I call it hip hop soul. For the most part, my music has always been just Khia, it reaches out to everyone from the grown and sexy to the hood.
As I got older, I decided to cross more over into the more mature lane, it allows me to do more, which is always a plus. The young people and old people love “My Neck, My Back,” but the older people might want to hear something a little more classy, while still sexy and sensual. I am now able to do early shows at 7 and 8 pm, then I also go out and do a show at 3 am, the two different sides of Khia, I love it though.
Why did you decide to jump on Miley Cyrus’ “We Can’t Stop?” I am a fan of Miley! Plus, I love the underdogs, I hadn’t talked to her in a while and seeing her transitioning as an artist and a woman, I reached out. Some people have had trouble seeing her growing up. A lot of people want her to still be Hannah Montana, but her growing up led to people being on her so bad. I am a rebel too and I embraced Miley in the midst of her being criticized so much.
Everyone’s eyes are on Miley and I don’t like the hate she has received and the negative press. Nobody likes to write positive stories, I go through it, so I know Miley Cyrus does. I tweeted to Miley that I loved the song and she responded back and she was so happy. So, I had my people get at her people and reach out to do a remix and they told us we could do it, so I did the remix, and they agreed to promote it. This is me embracing Miley, I went to the studio and knocked it out for her.
It was perfect, I did this for her fans and my fans and I thought it was the perfect song. Miley loved it, I loved it, and all of our fans love the song. Let Miley live, let her grow up, because some kids can’t handle the negative attention, it might have a negative impact on her. So, this was me saying “back up off Miley.”
Clearly, you are a fan of her hip hop-inspired music, how do you feel about the way hip hop crosses into other music genres? We have always been able to do that. Really, it is because we all love music first, we are all poets who have strong wordplay. Deep down, the underlying beauty of it is the love of music. I think hip hop has a lot of artists who are now able to push without having the machine and doing well.
I am waiting for the time when all the bullshit is gone and we can get back to just making music again and having the intimacy with their fans again. The love from the fans leads to a lot of success and they look for you when they know you have music. But, now, once an artist does not do as well as expected, they are forgotten, so it is good to see them working with other people because it leads to so much more exposure for them that puts them on a bigger platform.
It makes sense to branch out into other genres because they are more solidified in their genres, multi-generational fans who listen to the music. If you are doing it for money and not for the love, it will lead to a fail anyway. But, with me crossing genres, it is led by my love for music, I go hard for it and I create songs with people I love. Hopefully, we can get more artists to cross genres.
Will there be any more popular songs you will be jumping on for remixes? Probably not. Expect to hear Love Locs from me and I hope they await my new music. But, hopefully the people that checked out the “We Can’t Stop” remix will check out my other music and then buy the album.
Where can we go to follow you on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram? My Facebook is Khia Shamone. Twitter is @QueenKhia. Instagram is @ThugMisses. Khia-Thugmisses.com is the official website. Much love to the fans who have supported me.
Follow K.B. Tindal on Twitter @KBTindal.