Eclectic R&B singer Kelis — known for proudly professing her rage on 1999’s “Caught Out There” (“I hate you so much right now!”) and boasting about her, um, “milkshake” on 2003’s Tasty — is plotting her return this summer. The lady unleashes her fourth album, Kelis Was Here, in August.
The funked-out diva has collaborated with a roster of impressive hip-hop artists in the past, including the late Ol’ Dirty Bastard, OutKast, the Neptunes and her hubbie, Nas. But when she was searching for talent for her new single, “Bossy,” she wanted to reach into the annals of West Coast rap.
“I did the record, and I thought, ‘Who would be perfect for this track? Who’s the real boss?’ I wanted Too Short, and everybody was saying, ‘We can’t find him,'” Kelis says of her search for “the ultimate O.G.” “No one really supported that move, but when I put him on there everyone thought it was crazy.”
Kelis continued to trust her instincts while working on the rest of the album, cross-breeding her diverse inspirations, from old-school R&B to funk punk. “I never do just one thing,” she says. “It’s from one spectrum to another. It goes from really punk and fun and glam-ish to 1970, Roberta Flack, Chapter 2.”
The singer’s favorite tracks represent both ends of that spectrum. “‘Fire’ has, like, a dance-party vibe to it,” says Kelis. “But ‘Appreciate Me’ — that’s a really grown-up, woman’s song.”
The latter, softer track also finds the feisty performer digging just a bit deeper. “There’s a lot of storytelling on the record,” she says. “It’s just my life.”