Last month marked 20 years since the release of Kaleidoscope, the debut album by Kelis. Now, the enigmatic "first girl to scream on a track" is opening up about music, men and her missing money to The Guardian's Hadley Freeman.
• On being "hard to place" as a musician: "The issue of race has been such a big part of my entire career. It was never something that I struggled with personally. But it was other people's confusions. Macy Gray and I were the first [black women] to be considered alternative. But people were like: 'But you're black and alternative? What is that?' Which already is a stupid-ass question, but it was put in our faces all the time."
• On 20 years of Kaleidoscope: "I'm struggling a little bit, if I'm honest. It's a lot harder than I thought it would be. I feel everyone is expecting me to have these deep thoughts about [the anniversary], and I just don't... [I'm proud of] the femaleness of the album, of the freaking outspokenness of it, the blackness of it, the alternativeness of it."
• On her fallout with the Neptunes: "I was told we were going to split the [profits from Kaleidoscope and its followup, 2001's Wanderland] 33/33/33, which we didn't do. [I was] blatantly lied to and tricked [by] the Neptunes and their management and their lawyers and all that stuff. [...] Their argument is: 'Well, you signed [the contract].' I'm like: 'Yeah, I signed what I was told, and I was too young and too stupid to double-check it.'" (Kelis was 19 years old during the making of Kaleidoscope.)
• On her 2018 allegations of abuse by Nas: "The red flags were there [early on]. I was really young and didn't know that love isn't enough. It was crazy from the start, but I think as girls we're taught that that’s what love is, like you can't breathe without them... [Seeing photos of Rihanna after Chris Brown assaulted her in 2009] woke me up."
Unmasked singer: Kelis on music, men and her missing money https://t.co/A6pFgd0h0F— Guardian music (@guardianmusic) January 30, 2020
Kelis embarks on a European Kaleidoscope 20th Anniversary Tour this March.
What are your favorite Kelis songs?