Kelis Tasty

While she’s arguably been ubiquitous production duo the Neptunes’ muse, Kelis has curiously never commanded their high profile. Given that she’s probably the only artist out of slew they’ve worked with who could straddle their R&B, hip-hop and rock influences with convincing ease, as her Kaleidoscope debut proved, this is highly ironic. Change seems afoot however, and while the sophomore effort Wanderland was unjustly denied a North American release, the flaunty dirty synth-ridden "Milkshake,” helmed by Chad and Pharell, has rocketed her back into public consciousness. The duo’s presence on Tasty though is limited to only five tracks; Kelis is noticeably more intent on asserting her control. Keen to project she’s fully in command of dispensing her idiosyncratic charisma throughout, the reggae-flavoured "Trick Me” and the roller-rink feel of "Protect My Heart” are announcements of an older, wiser Kelis making the inclusion of the head-nodding yet callow "Flashback,” originally on Wanderland a head-scratching inclusion. Nevertheless, Kelis continues to hop around the sonic map with mostly favourable results, corralling fellow afronaut Andre 3000’s sophistofunk for "Millionaire” and flexing her usually limited vocal range on the Raphael Saadiq-assisted neo-soul offering "Glow.” While rock outings like "Keep It Down” shows some of her eclecticism misses the mark, Kelis even manages to make the ’80s retro feel to some tracks sound radical in comparison to contemporary tends, indicating that she’ll continue to thrive out of the shadow of her mentors forging her own brand of futuristic R&B. (StarTrak)