Khia: Queen to Be

W hen you feel like nobody can do it like you and your competition is minimal it’s only natural that you step up and claim a title. “Queen of South” is what she’s chosen to call herself and it doesn’t seem like anyone has objected…well at least not yet. Written off as a one-hit wonder […]

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hen you feel like nobody can do it like you and your competition is minimal it’s only natural that you step up and claim a title. “Queen of South” is what she’s chosen to call herself and it doesn’t seem like anyone has objected…well at least not yet. Written off as a one-hit wonder by most Hip-Hop fans after her hit single “My Neck, My Back,” Khia says she has plans to show otherwise.

While her first album Thug Misses sold over 800,000 units independently, Khia has gone on to produce her entire sophomore effort Gangstress. To play along with the title, the mugshots from several years ago will be collaged to make the Tampa rapper’s album cover.

With a Janet Jackson collaboration in the works, this one-hit wonder is one that plans to wipe her competition out. Khia discusses the role of the female MC, artists who don’t write for themselves, and she speaks on the role of sexuality in her music as compared to others. She’s been quiet for three years, but Khia is making up for lost time with and without the mic. So I hear before you got recognized as an artist that you used to be a bartender down in Florida?

Khia: Yes I did. I was a bartender for seven years and loved it. I was able to build relationships with all the DJs and radio stations and club promoters. I worked in one of the biggest clubs in Tampa and it was good because I was able to get my music into the right hands. It was a great opportunity and it worked out good. You’ve been missing for a while. No one has heard much from you since your first album dropped. What have you been doing?

Khia: I traveled and toured. I’ve been overseas. Most artists out here have seen me on the road, just a lot of the mainstream media haven’t seen me and that was by choice. Thug Misses came out in 2002 and I toured overseas 2003 and all of 2004. I’ve been to Japan, Africa, Greece, Italy, Germany and France. As huge as “My Neck, My Back” was over here in the United States, it was just that huge overseas. Just to be able to tour and travel all over the world with my first album was an accomplishment. A lot of artists aren’t able to do that off their first album. I just got back into the states in 2005. All during that process I had been writing and getting prepared for this album and trying to get a deal because I only had a one album distribution deal my first time around. Just trying to do all the pit work and get this album out it took a year, so it’s really not a comeback because I haven’t been just sitting and waiting. That first time around you sold 800,000 units independently. Your first single “My Neck, My Back” had sex written all over it. Do you think that if you would have used a different approach in your lyrics you would have sold as many records?

Khia: Oh most definitely. A lot of people think it was just about “My Neck, My Back,” but it wasn’t just about “My Neck, My Back.” You’ll get to see on my new album that I’m real versatile and I cross a whole lot of different avenues. Elaborate on the title “Queen of the South” and why you choose to call yourself that?

Khia: Me coming out independently and selling as many records as I did, no other female artist from the South has done that on their own. I’m independent, I do all of my own writing and production, I don’t have a major team or major label and I’ve accomplished a lot. As far as being “Queen of the South,” I’m calling myself that because I’m standing on my own two feet and I’m doing a lot of work for myself that most female artists don’t do.

Being independent and having my own label, selling units, and not coming out behind a man is a lot. Lil’ Kim had Biggie, Trina got Trick, Remy got Fat Joe, Mia X had No Limit, Eve had Ruff Ryders, and Foxy had Jay-Z. Every woman that has been out has piggybacked off a man. You can’t be the queen if you’re not running the show. I have made a lot of noise on my own in the South and all over the world. My first single alone made a bigger impact than any female that has came out by herself. I run the streets in the South. Is that why you choose to do the album without any collaborations?

Khia: I think that people use collaborations because they are talentless and they need to try and come up off other people’s sales and fan base. I do all my writing and my own production. I’ve done features with other people, but for my album I just chose not to do any. So what’s your first single going to be?

Khia: The first single is going to be “Snatch the Cat Back.” It’s another ladies anthem. To break it down for the ladies: if your man ain’t treating you right, snatch the cat back, or if he’s hurting you and dealing with other woman, snatch the cat back. I felt that it was something that all women could relate to because at some point every woman has wanted to snatch the cat back. The song is really about respect. I read that your new album cover will have some of your old mug shots that surfaced on the internet a while back? Talk to me about that.

Khia: My whole album cover is going to be my mugshots. The album is going to be called Gangstress, so why not have the truth on the cover? There was a lot of controversy about that too. When you have a little bit of success you’re going to have people that come in and spread rumors and try to assassinate your character, but that was another reason why I used the mugshots. It’s not something that I’m trying to hide from, it’s all in my music. It’s still a way to show that I’m not trying to paint a pretty picture and look sexy. This is what I used to be and this is what I am now. It’s gonna show the truth behind the music. You have thugs and thug misses, gangsters and gangstresses, you have girls who go to prison and hustle n’ grind just like guys do. They’ll be able to relate and know that it doesn’t matter that this is where you came from, if you have goals and dreams you can still achieve and do well. I chose to use them for a lot of different reasons. So when you saw the pictures surface what was it like to have your past exposed? Did it bother you?

Khia: At home and in Florida when you’re brought up in the hood, you’re trained for that kind of stuff. I wasn’t going to do a Mariah Carey and be in rehab and OD’ing somewhere stressed and depressed because people were pulling up my past. I was just like… “Oh look at this!” [giggling] It really didn’t affect me, but it showed me that people aren’t loyal in this game and will do stuff to sabotage your career so you have to be head strong. If you’re not, you won’t make in the Hip-Hop world because there’s some shady s**t going on out here. Now I hear that you might have a song with Janet Jackson? Is that true?

Khia: Ohhhh! [in shock] Yes, it’s true. The song is going to be promoted with her album, not with mine. It’s called “So Excited.” It’s a hot track, and it’s going to be the second single off her album. I love Janet to death. I was so excited when she called to do the song. I think it’s a good tag team and I enjoyed working with her. I turned down a lot of people that wanted to collaborate and said I’d never collaborate with another female rapper, but I couldn’t turn down Janet. How do feel about female MCs in the industry?

Khia: I don’t have a favorite female MC. A lot of theme have male ghostwriters and try to sound and rap all hard like a man. Women can’t relate to that. It might be pleasing to a man’s ear but to a woman it’s degrading. They’re not getting any respect because they are being used as sex symbols and not demanding any. So many of them are puppets for men who are putting them out there and I don’t respect that. So do you feel like you have any competition out there?

Khia: No…None what so ever. I’m the “Queen of the South” and I’m claiming [it]. I know there’s going to be a lot of controversy and people trying to compare because that’s what they do, but the bottom line is I’m handling my business. Until another women in the South steps up and does that, I’m not going to respect you and you can’t take my place. I’m out here and I’m doing it, I don’t respect none of them. With you being from Florida and having female counterparts such as Trina and Jacki-O, what do you think about them?

Khia: Trina and Jacki-O…Please! Just like I said: [they are] puppets. Trina piggybacked off Trick Daddy and every single that she had she needed a big name feature to sell records. The girl does lap dances on stage. The majority of her fan base is men and that’s because they wanna f**k. They looking at ass, sex, and her as a sex symbol. She talks about being a female pimp, and tricking for $10,000, and diamonds and all that kind of mess. That’s not the real world. She’s living in a make believe world, and that s**t she raps about is make believe. And Jacki-O, I’ve never heard of her. Besides dropping your album, what else is in the future for you?

Khia: I have a new book that’s dropping this Christmas called Gangsta Love that I am promoting with my album. It’s a thug misses story, my story, and where my music comes from. So I’m trying to promote my book and produce beats and do some writing for other artists. I just want to be respected and not known as a one hit wonder and my second album, Gangstress is going to help me make my mark.