KELIS – THE HITS
14-SONG COMPILATION SPANS HER ENTIRE CAREER, FROM 1999 TO 2006 MULTI-LABEL PROGRAM DRAWS UPON ALL FOUR KELIS ALBUMS: KALEIDOSCOPE (1999), WANDERLAND (2001, UNRELEASED IN U.S.), TASTY (2004), AND MOST RECENT KELIS WAS HERE (2006)
Collaborations with Nas, Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Gnarls Barkley’s Cee-Lo Green, André 3000 of OutKast, N.E.R.D. (the Neptunes), Too $hort, and Richard X
Liner notes essay written by Leah Rose of XXL magazine
Well-deserved collection arrives in stores March 11, 2008, on Star Trak/Jive/Legacy
“Tasty’s biggest triumph, however, was the album’s first single ‘Milkshake.’ Tracked by the Neptunes, the chart-topping sing-along was an instant smash and propelled Kelis’ third LP up the Billboard Top 200; it also earned her a Grammy nomination in 2004 for best Urban/Alternative performance. Soon Tasty was certified gold, marking Kelis’ first plaque in the United States.”
– Leah Rose, XXL magazine, from the liner notes to KELIS – THE HITS
Known worldwide for the Grammy-nominated “Milkshake,” her 2003-2004 signature crossover hit that still earns its fair share of video and airplay in the U.S. and abroad, New York’s own Kelis – who celebrates her 10th year as a recording artist in 2008 – is a prolific singer and songwriter whose four albums are a musical treasure trove, way too deep for someone who has not yet reached age 30!
With nearly a dozen Hot 100 & R&B chart singles to her name at home, and an equal number in the U.K., the time is right to collect KELIS – THE HITS. The 14-song overview of her career is a long-overdue collection that backs up “Milkshake” with the songs that have kept her on the radio and on the road since 1999. The new album, with liner notes written by Leah Rose of XXL magazine (who penned notes for Legacy’s recent Common compilation, thisisme then) will arrive in stores March 4th on Star Trak/Jive/Legacy, a division of SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAIN¬MENT.
“Only a true artist has the ability to innovate an entire genre,” writes Leah Rose. “Ever since debuting with her album Kaleidoscope nearly ten years ago, Kelis has remained on the cutting edge of both fashion and music. As one of the first major pop stars to collaborate with the Grammy award-winning production duo the Neptunes, Kelis set trends for an entire generation of hip-hop and R&B artists.”
Kelis recorded four albums on three different labels: her debut Kaleidoscope (Virgin, 1999); Wanderland (Virgin, 2001, which remains unreleased in the U.S. to date); Tasty (Star Trak/Arista, 2004); and her most recent Kelis Was Here (LaFace/ Jive, 2006). KELIS – THE HITS draws from all four albums – including two star collabo¬ra¬tions apiece from Tasty (“In Public” with her husband Def Jam artist Nas; and “Millionaire” with OutKast’s André 3000) and Kelis Was Here (“Lil’ Star” with Cee-Lo Green of Gnarls Barkley; and the most recent crossover hit “Bossy” with Too $hort).
KELIS – THE HITS also tracks three equally important collabo¬ra¬tions, all on different labels as well: 1999’s “Got Your Money” with Ol’ Dirty Bastard (which pre-dates by just a few months Kelis’ own coming-out as a solo artist that same year); 2002’s “Truth Or Dare” with N.E.R.D. (the alter-ego group/band concept of her long-time producers the Neptunes, Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo); and “Finest Dreams” with British producer Richard X.
Four years ago, the starmaking machinery was working overtime to capture all the “Milkshake” excitement: “It’s ‘frothy’,” raved Entertainment Weekly, “saucy” said USA Today, and “the superfreakiest song on the charts this winter” summed up Rolling Stone. Tasty hit RIAA gold, and Kelis earned the opening spot on the first leg of Britney Spears’ North American tour that spring.
“My milkshake brings all the boys to the yard/ And they’re like, it’s better than yours/ Damn right it’s better than yours, I can teach you/ But I have to charge…”
In fact, Kelis was already a seasoned veteran by 2004 – seven years after graduating at age 17 from New York City’s prestigious LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and the Performing Arts (PA). She soon hooked up with a pair of up-and-coming producers based in Virginia Beach, Chad Hugo and Pharrell Williams, which led to the first Kelis album on Virgin Records in 1999, Kaleidoscope. Though “Caught Out There” reached Top 10 R&B in the U.S., it was clear that British and European audiences were way out front in their attention to the young star. “Good Stuff” and “Get Along With You” further established Kelis across the Continent.
Controversy greeted the 2001 album Wanderland, her second with the Neptunes and Virgin Records. “Young, Fresh N’ New” did well on the charts in the U.K. and Germany, but when it missed the pop and R&B charts in the U.S., Virgin decided not to release the album here. The move led Kelis to part company with the label.
Although she stayed aligned with the Neptunes (appearing on one track on their long-awaited 2002 alter-ego project In Search Of…), the next Kelis album, Tasty, found her moving (along with the Neptunes’ Star Trak label) to Arista and BMG worldwide. The label encouraged Kelis to enlist a wider list of guest producers, among them Raphael Saadiq, Dallas Austin, and André 3000. But it was the Neptunes-produced “Milkshake” that jumped out and stopped traffic on both sides of the Atlantic.
“Milkshake” was rush-released before the September 30, 2003, Grammy deadline – which ensured it of a nomination. People called it “a banging club jam with a percolating groove, spacey programming and a chant-along chorus… It ranks next to OutKast’s ‘Hey Ya!’ as the grooviest song on the radio.” Tasty arrived in December, and the New York Times Sunday Arts & Leisure section declared: “Throughout her appealing new album… whether she’s sighing or whispering or rapping or chanting, her voice makes a great rhythm instrument.”
The timing, however, left Kelis caught up once again in a U.S. industry snafu, as Arista was dissolved in March 2004. It was a different story in the U.K., where Tasty spun off three more top-charted singles: “Trick Me,” “Millionaire” (with André 3000), and “In Public” (with Nas).
When the smoke cleared in 2005, Kelis remained inside the BMG family, on the LaFace label, now an imprint of Jive Records. She began working with nearly a dozen producers on her next album and the first results hit the street in January 2006, “Bossy,” featuring rapper Too $hort. With its Marc Klasfeld video, the single clocked a 6-month pop/R&B crossover chart run in the U.S. and U.K., ultimately achieving rare double-platinum certification here.
“Bossy” set the scene for the new album in August, Kelis Was Here, which brought her second Grammy Award nomination (and first for an album). The week after the Grammy ceremonies in February 2007 – more than 13 months after the album’s release – “Lil’ Star” (featuring Cee-Lo) was issued as the album’s final single. It entered the U.K. chart at #3, confirming the never-ending popularity of Kelis.
“With an ability to seek out untapped musical territories and create sounds that reach way beyond the current aesthetic,” Leah Rose concludes, “Kelis has managed to bring an unbridled experimentation to the forefront of R&B. Her supreme sass is infectious and permeates throughout her work. With more style and substance than her so-called peers, Kelis is pop’s last great escape.”
KELIS – THE HITS
(Star Trak/Jive/Legacy 88697 25278 2 6 – explicit)
(Star Trak/Jive/Legacy 88697 25467 2 8 – clean)
Title U.S. UK From album Label Year
1. Caught Out There R&B #9, H #54 #4 Kaleidoscope Virgin 1999
2. Milkshake R&B #4, H #3 #2 Tasty StarTrak/Arista 2003
3. Got Your Money R&B #19, H #33 #11 [N***a Please] [Elektra] 1999
(w/Ol’ Dirty Bastard)
4. Trick Me — #2 Tasty StarTrak/Arista 2004
5. Lil’ Star (with Cee-Lo) — #3 Kelis Was Here LaFace/Jive 2006
6. Get Along With You R&B #57 #51 Kaleidoscope Virgin 2000
7. Young, Fresh N’ New Dance #15 #32 Wanderland Virgin 2001
8. Truth Or Dare — — [In Search Of…] [Virgin] 2002
9. Bossy (with Too $hort) R&B#11, H #16 #22 Kelis Was Here LaFace/Jive 2006
10. In Public (with Nas) — #17 Tasty StarTrak/Arista 2005
11. Millionaire — #3 Tasty StarTrak/Arista 2004
12. Finest Dreams — #8 [X-Factor Vol. 1] [Astralwerks] 2003
13. Suspended — — Kaleidoscope Virgin 2000
14. Good Stuff — #19 Kaleidoscope Virgin 2000
H indicates Billboard Hot 100 singles chart (U.S.)
— indicates single did not chart or was not issued in designated country.
Year indicates single release date, not album.