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11 Kelis

The genius of Kelis in 5 iconic videos

Music

Because she raged at Beyoncé’s unpredictable use of one of her hits on her album Renaissance, the 2000s leading R’n’B singer Kelis is back under the spotlight. But this high-profile dispute is a reminder that, before she became a chef and owner of a farm in California, she used to a true music pioneer, who paved the way for Rihanna and many other R’n’B and hip-hop artists today.

Beyoncé’s latest album Renaissance is still controversial. The star had to delete some of her lyrics deemed ableist, and Kelis accused the singer of Break My Soul of sampling her 2003 hit Milkshake on her track Energy without her permission. These criticisms expressed on Kelis’ social media propelled the singer to the forefront of the scene. Indeed, before she went after Beyoncé, few people knew about her. Yet the former model, who graduated from an art school in New York, was one of the leading R’n’B figures of the 2000s. With her colorful outfits, her punk energy, her polished videos, and her charisma, she paved the way for stars such as Rihanna. Kelis’ discography is full of daring and ambitious hits, produced by the Neptunes – the duo gathering Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo – and André 3000 from OutKast, among others.

 

Musically speaking, the one who used to collaborate with Cee-Lo Green and Ol’ Dirty Bastard has been keeping a low profile over the past few years. Now, the R’n’B diva is mostly known for her culinary adventures, since she converted into a chef. Nas’ ex-wife published a book entitled Life on a Plate (2015) and launched a cooking show on Netflix called Cooked with Cannabis. She used to multiply references to food in her songs, such as her notable single Milkshake and her album Food (2014), before she recently came back with a new video called Midnight Snacks (2021). Produced by the duo The FaNaTix, who have previously worked with Nicki Minaj and Popcaan, the suave but effective song plays on the intrinsic links between sex and food – two very similar areas according to Kelis.

 

The forever badass 42-year-old pioneer now lives in a Californian farm surrounded by animals, including a cow named Whitney Houston and a llama named Marvin Gaye. She is making her own olive oil and growing citrus fruits, but she doesn’t waste any time when it comes to reminding people on her social media of the major role she played in pop culture. Her high-profile feud with Beyoncé gives us a chance to look back at her forward-thinking aura through five of her best music videos and tracks.

1. Caught Out There (1999) by Kelis

2. Good Stuff (1999) by Kelis

3. Trick Me (2003) by Kelis

4. Milkshake (2003) by Kelis

5. Millionaire (2003) by Kelis