Kelis to Offer "Tasty" Set

P. Diddy, Timbaland chip in with production

Hip-hop chanteuse Kelis will issue Tasty on October 6th on the Neptunes' Star Trak label, a subsidiary of Arista. The album will be her first U.S. release in four years -- Virgin Records, which released 1999's Kaleidoscope, opted not to issue her second effort, 2001's Wanderland.

"While I was getting off Virgin last year, I was bored and started recording a lot of stuff on my own," she says. "No [label reps], no management, nothing. It was just Kelis in a booth, and that's sixty percent of the album. [The album's producers] were like, 'We know eventually you'll get signed, and one day we'll get paid.' They were really wonderful."

Unlike Kaleidoscope and Wanderland (available as an import), which bare the Neptunes' heavy influence, Tasty incorporates a wider production palette. Kelis has completed about twenty songs, including five with Raphael Saadiq (Tony! Toni! Tone!, Lucy Pearl), a few with Dallas Austin (Monica, Madonna), one titled "Guilty Girl" with her new manager P. Diddy, and another called "Running Mate" with Timbaland. Kelis also worked with Dame Grease, known for his work with DMX, on "Stick Up" and "Everyday Story." "He really brought it," she says.

Kelis will record five more tracks for possible inclusion on Tasty. She hasn't collaborated with any guest artists so far, but she's not averse to using the talents of her fiance, rapper Nas. "We haven't done one yet," she says, "but there's a song I'd like him to do."

"Milkshake," produced by the Neptunes, will lead off the Tasty charge, hitting radio in July. "It's like a fun summer record," Kelis says of the song. "It's a return record, like 'I'm back.' It's a fun little tease."

Kelis will test-run some of the new material when she joins the Neptunes and Talib Kweli on the Sprite Liquid Mix tour in August.