Don’t dog Kelis for working her sexual marketability with “Bossy,” her irresistibly cocksure summer single. She’d already embraced it after the success of “Milkshake,” one of the best lapdance songs of the current decade and the bane of parents with MTV-loving preteens.
Those who first noticed the stunning rage of “Caught Out There” bemoan Kelis’s departure from all-Neptunes production, as well as her gradual transformation from a girl unafraid to cuss out her man -to a sex kitten writhing around in lingerie. But bossy, saucy Kelis works. Lil’ Kim rapping “I make a Sprite can disappear in my mouth” is actually more silly than sexual because she’s pushed the exaggerated schtick so much that her persona has become tiresome.
But Kelis as an ultra confident femme is refreshing. It’s a hard pill to swallow, she admits, when your projected audience finds you strange, doesn’t buy your sophomore album, “then in the blink of an eye / They got on what you got” when you release a sexually forward single.
Accepting that sex sells will only result in more cash – you might as well have fun with it if you look as good as Kelis.
“You don’t need to love me,” Kelis purrs in “Bossy,” “but you have to respect me – ’cause I’m a boss!” In the video she climbs out of bed, preens and sheers off her famous locks. It’s the reverse Sampson transformation: Suddenly Kelis is walking all over men with her stilettos and championing her all-around prowress, swathed in designer labels. And what about the tricked-out Ferrari?
What’s so fun about “Bossy” is how Kelis throws around hegemonically masculine symbols of success (flashy cars, “diamonds on my neck / diamonds on my grill”). Her attitude is almost alarming with its braggadocio, and here the video for “Bossy” hits its acme.