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Kelis talks 20 years of 'Kaleidoscope,' feuding with the Neptunes and more in new interview


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 leaving Los Angeles: "I hate LA. I was only ever there for work. Because it's not like New York or London, there's nowhere to go after 10 at night, so suddenly you're getting up early in the mornings and you're juicing and you're hiking and figuring out how much wheatgrass can you actually intake... I thought, if I'm going to be in California, I should be where I can appreciate how beautiful it really is, not stuck in LA and pretending it's a city that's fun." (She now lives on a 24-acre farm two and a half hours outside of the city with her husband, photographer Mike Mora, and their four-year-old son.)

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."



Kelis embarks on a European Kaleidoscope 20th Anniversary Tour this March.

Source

What are your favorite Kelis songs?
Tags: anniversary / birthday, interview, kelis, pharrell / n.e.r.d / neptunes, violence / domestic abuse
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