Pop fans, let’s take a little trip down memory lane...
The year was 2004. Britney Spears was “in the zone,” having shed her “not a girl, not yet a woman” mindset and launched herself fully into sexy, adult terrain. Christina Aguilera, meanwhile, was getting “back to basics,” ditching her “Dirrty” aesthetic in favor of old Hollywood-inspired class. And Nelly... well, he was simply still relevant.
That fall, the St. Louis rapper released the second offering from his ’04 album Sweat: “Tilt Ya Head Back,” a pop/hip-hop collab featuring soulful vocals from Christina. But as producer Dorian Moore later told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the duet was originally offered to Xtina’s fellow Mouseketeer-turned-rival, Britney. According to Moore, Brit’s label, Jive, took a hard pass because the song was deemed “too urban” (which is kind of silly, considering In The Zone featured a collab with the Ying Yang Twins, but whatever).
Now, a full 12 years later, we’ve finally gotten a taste of what Britney and Nelly’s version of “Tilt Ya Head Back” would’ve sounded like -- and it’s HOT, y’all. A snippet of Brit’s demo has surfaced online after premiering on a Singaporean radio station, and it packs in plenty of the sultriness and the “Chaotic”-esque moans and groans she’s known for.
Whereas Christina amps up her version of “Tilt Ya Head Back” with her booming vocals, Brit takes gives it a slithery, more R&B-inspired interpretation. Either version probably would’ve worked just fine... but would Brit have been able to pull off the Marilyn Monroe-inspired aesthetic of the track’s vid? Revisit it below and judge for yourself: