When Kelis released her first album in December 1999, soul music was already enjoying a revamp thanks to purist innovators like Erykah Badu and D’Angelo.
But Kaleidoscope (which celebrates its twentieth birthday with this Expanded Edition) was on a whole different playing field. During the summer of that same year, the Harlem fly girl first imposed her urban verve on the crazy single Got Your Money by former Wu-Tang member Ol’ Dirty Bastard.
With confidence and charisma aplenty -- she’s only 20 years old on this record -- she takes full ownership of this first record entirely directed by the Neptunes duo Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo.
Kaleidoscope is an R&B record with just the right amounts of pop and hip-hop, like Mary J. Blige or even Brandy. Rather minimalist beats and arrangement-wise, Kelis was a veritable trailblazer.
Two decades later and without a single wrinkle, this is a welcome gift that features a handful of remixes (like the excellent extended Caught Out Here by The Neptunes) and gives us the pleasure of revisiting this sensual classic.