A "Milkshake" is a girl's sensual energy - what makes her stand out from the other girls. Taken more literally, it is about a girl who dances seductively and attracts the attention of boys in the club. Her "milkshake" is the way she shakes her boobs (the source of mother's milk). It can also be taken to mean oral sex. Bringing the "boys to the yard" could be about attracting boys like a dog in heat.
Kelis (last name: Rogers) was 24 when she recorded this, but it was still a comeback. After graduation from La Guardia High School, which was inspiration for the movie Fame, she signed a record deal and released her first album in 1999. The album was produced by The Neptunes - Chad Hugo and Pharrell Williams - who went on produce hits for acts singers like Nelly, Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears. Despite a hit single called "Caught Out There," Kelis was dropped from her label and waited years before Arista Records signed her and released Tasty. Williams and Hugo wrote this song.
In the December 12, 2004 Observer Music Magazine, Kelis said that Milkshake "means whatever people want it to; it was just a word we came up with on a whim, but then the song took on a life of its own."
Kelis performed this on Saturday Night Live February 14, 2004. Later that year, the song was featured in the movie Mean Girls, which was written by SNL star Tina Fey. According to Fey, the scene was written as the character Regina George's little sister giving a lap dance to a teddy bear, but the director insisted they change it. Instead, they had the girl dance to "Milkshake."
This was used in the movies Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story (2004) and Norbit (2007). It was also featured on the TV shows The Simpsons, Nip/Tuck, and Ugly Betty.
In 2014, Kelis dropped the bombshell that she doesn't drink milkshakes. She said she has positive feelings about the song, however, telling Spin: "It played a huge part in where music went. I'm aware of that, I don't regret it or resent it at all."
The video was directed by Jake Nava, who did many of Beyoncé'a clips, including "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)
" and "Crazy In Love
"Milkshake" was shot in a Brooklyn diner called Relish, with the signage changed to make it "Tasty's Yard." Kelis gave some hints to the song's true meaning with lots of provocative poses and dance moves in the video.
The Neptunes' production was inspired by Brazilian women. When Pharrell Williams of the duo was in Brazil, he found himself surrounded by beautiful girls and a type of music that he compared to as "booty shakin' music in Portuguese." Inspired, he created a dance all night feeling for this song.