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Christina Aguilera featuring Lil Kim - Cant Hold Us Down CD cover
Christina Aguilera (feat. Lil' Kim)
Writer(s) Christina Aguilera
Scott Storch
Matt Morris
Producer(s) Scott Storch
Length 4:14

S-Logo singles chronology

Singles "Dirrty"
"Beautiful"
"Fighter"
"Can't Hold Us Down"
"The Voice Within"

Stripped track listing

"Can't Hold Us Down" is a song by Christina Aguilera featuring Lil' Kim, taken from Aguilera's fourth studio album, Stripped. It was released on July 8, 2003 by RCA Records as the fourth single from the album. The song was written by Aguilera, Matt Morris, and Scott Storch, and was solely produced by Storch. An R&B and hip hop song with elements from dancehall, "Can't Hold Us Down" promotes feminism and criticizes gender-related double standard. Media outlets suggested that its lyrics were about Eminem and Fred Durs.

"Can't Hold Us Down" received mixed reviews from music critics, who were ambivalent towards its production and composition. However, the track was nominated a Grammy Award for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals at the 2004 Grammy Awards. The song experienced moderate success commercially, peaked at number 12 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and charted within the top ten of several countries, including Australia and the United Kingdom. The Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) eventually certified the single a gold certification.

Background

Christina was dissatisfied with being marketed as what her then-manager Steve Kurtz desired rather than her own wish. In late 2000, Aguilera hired Irving Azoff as her new manager and announced that her forthcoming album would have more musical and lyrical depth. She named the album Stripped, explaining that the term represented "a new beginning, a re-introduction of [herself] as a new artist". Hip hop producer Scott Storch wrote and produced several tracks for the album, including "Can't Hold Us Down". Additional writing credits for the song were provided by Aguilera and Matt Morris.

Music Video


Christina Aguilera - Can't Hold Us Down

Christina Aguilera - Can't Hold Us Down

Premiere date July 2003
Director(s) David LaChapelle
Choreographer Unknown
Filmed Unknown
Location Los Angeles
Production Co Mars Media

The music video for "Can't Hold Us Down" was directed by David LaChapelle, who previously directed the music video for Stripped's controversial lead single "Dirrty" (2002). It was filmed in a Los Angeles soundstage that depicted a 1980s Lower East Side neighborhood in ManhattanNew York City. LaChapelle described the video's concept as his "ode to the '80s". As the video begins, Aguilera is chatting with a group of women. She wears a pink tank top, very short pair of shorts, a mauve baseball cap embroidered with the words "Lady C", a sleeveless sport jacket and white long socks. Her eyes are darkened with mascara, her nose has a gold piercing, and her hair is dyed black. The video features a "non-white" "ethnic-like" body of Aguilera, which resembles residents of a ghetto.

When Aguilera stands up and starts walking, a black man suddenly grabs her buttocks, makes Aguilera stops and causes an argument. As she continues to sing, the nearby women in the neighborhood join her, while the male residents join the man, and form their respective sides in the street, mostly black or Latin people.They, the hip hop artists, performed their own dance skills against each other. At the bridge, Lil' Kim appears in a bikini, a sheer black blouse and dances on her high heels. The argument ends with Aguilera spraying the men with a water hose, which she holds between her legs and parodies the male penis.

The AV Club was not impressed with LaChapelle's direction, wrote that "once David LaChapelle’s video gets factored in, the medium swallows the message". Diane Railton and Paul Watson, authors of the book Music Video and the Politics of Representation noted that Aguilera becomes a black woman in the music video, though she was originally white. They further described the clip's content as "a range of issues concerning the represent of gender and race".

Lyrics

So what am I not supposed to have an opinion
Should I be quiet just because I'm a woman
Call me a bitch 'cause I speak what's on my mind
Guess it's easier for you to swallow if I sat and smiled

When a female fires back
Suddenly big talker don't know how to act
So he does what any little boy would do
Making up a few false rumors or two

That for sure is not a man to me
Slanderin' names for popularity
It's sad you only get your fame through controversy
But now it's time for me to come and give you more to say

This is for my girls all around the world
Who've come across a man who don't respect your worth
Thinking all women should be seen, not heard
So what do we do girls?
Shout louder!

Letting them know we're gonna stand our ground
Lift your hands high and wave them proud
Take a deep breath and say it loud
Never can, never will, can't hold us down

Nobody can hold us down
Nobody can hold us down
Nobody can hold us down
Never can, never will

So what am I not supposed to say what I'm saying
Are you offended with the message I'm bringing
Call me whatever 'cause your words don't mean a thing
Guess you ain't even a man enough to handle what I sing

If you look back in history
It's a common double standard of society
The guy gets all the glory the more he can score
While the girl can do the same and yet you call her a whore

I don't understand why it's OK
The guy can get away with it, the girl gets named
All my ladies come together and make a change
And start a new beginning for us everybody sing

This is for my girls all around the world
Who've come across a man who don't respect your worth
Thinking all women should be seen, not heard
You can't get rid of us
What do we do girls?
Shout louder!

Letting them know we're gonna stand our ground
We standing our ground on this one
Lift your hands high and wave 'em proud
Take a deep breath and say it loud
Never can, never will, can't hold us down
Check it

[Lil' Kim:]
Here's something I just can't understand
If a guy have three girls then he's the man
He can even give her some head or sex her raw
If a girl do the same, then she's a whore

But the table's about to turn
I bet my fame on it
Cats take my ideas and put their name on it
It's alright though, you can't hold me down
I got to keep on movin'

To all my girls with a man who be tryna mack
Do it right back to him and let that be that
You need to let him know that his game is whack
And Lil' Kim and Christina Aguilera got your back

But you're just a little boy
Think you're so cute, so coy
You must talk so big
To make up for smaller things

Said you're just a little boy
All you'll do is annoy
You must talk so big
To make up for smaller things

This is for my girls
This is for my girls all around the world
Who've come across a man who don't respect your worth
Thinking all women should be seen, not heard
So what do we do girls?
Shout louder!

Letting them know we're gonna stand our ground
Lift your hands high and wave 'em proud
Take a deep breath and say it loud
Never can, never will, can't hold us down

This is for my girls all around the world
Who've come across a man who don't respect your worth
Thinking all women should be seen, not heard
So what do we do girls?
Shout louder!

Letting them know we're gonna stand our ground
Lift your hands high and wave 'em proud
Take a deep breath and say it loud
Never can, never will, can't hold us down

Spread the word, can't hold us down
We here, we back again
Lil' Kim and Christina Aguilera
Can't hold us down


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