Turn your speakers up!
In 2004, Nelly released "Tilt Ya Head Back," the second single from his album Sweat. The song sampled Curtis Mayfield's 1972 jam "Superfly" and featured new vocals by Christina Aguilera. But, as producer Dorian Moore told The St. Louis Post-Dispatch (via MTV) in 2004, the duet was originally offered to Britney Spears. Moore claimed her record label, Jive, deemed it too "urban" and passed. Both Aguilera and Janet Jackson were considered after Spears opted out. Twelve years later, a snippet of Spears' demo surfaced online, giving fans an idea of what could have been. Singapore's Gold 905 radio station shared 30 seconds of the song, which then made a splash on social media.
Nelly and Aguilera's version peaked at No. 58 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. Its music video debuted on MTV's Making the Video, and they performed the duet at the MTV Movie Awards. "Tilt Ya Head Back" wasn't Spears and Nelly's first time teaming up, though, as they performed at the 2001 Super Bowl Halftime Show with Aerosmith, Mary J. Blige, 'N Sync and Run-D.M.C.
It's unclear why Jive allegedly felt "Tilt Ya Head Back" was too "urban" for Spears given that her 2003 album, In The Zone, included several hip-hop inspired tracks. The pop star recorded "(I Got That) Boom Boom" with the Ying Yang Twins, and R. Kelly wrote the hit single "Outrageous." Snoop Dogg even added a verse to Spears' "Outrageous" remix, which hit airwaves in July 2004.
Several of Spears' unreleased demos have surfaced online in recent years. Most notably, in 2010, someone published her version of "Telephone," the hit made famous by Lady Gaga and Beyoncé in 2009. It's not uncommon for musicians to record the same songs, though demos don't usually see the light of day. Oftentimes the process works to an artist's advantage, as it did when TLC passed on what turned out to be Spears' very first single, 1998's "...Baby One More Time. "I was like, I like the song but do I think it's a hit? Do I think it's TLC? I'm not saying, 'Hit me baby.' No disrespect to Britney," T-Boz told MTV in 2013. "It's good for her. But was I going to say, 'Hit me baby one more time'? Hell no!" T-Boz explained that "every song isn't good for each artist," saying, "When you're a real artist you know what you believe in and what you really want to sing. So, I'm clear that it was a hit, but I'm also clear that it wasn't for TLC."