A charismatic singer and songwriter who, for several years, was closely associated with the Neptunes, Kelis arrived at the tail-end of the '90s and left an immediate impression with her first solo single, "Caught Out There" -- a Top Ten R&B single with a frank and screamed chorus. While her other Top Ten R&B single, 2003's Grammy-nominated "Milkshake," was also something of a novelty hit -- and also produced by the Neptunes -- Kelis released some of the most creative R&B albums of the late '90s and 2000s. In the 2010s, she took left turns that defied expectations and remained a fascinating, unpredictable artist.
Bred in Manhattan's Harlem neighborhood, Kelis Rogers left home at 16 and landed a deal with Virgin four years later. She appeared in August 1999 with a featured role on Ol' Dirty Bastard's Neptunes-produced single "Got Your Money." Her debut album, Kaleidoscope, was out by the end of the year, produced entirely by the Neptunes' Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo. It peaked at only number 144 in the U.S. but went gold in the U.K. Two years later, she teamed up with the Neptunes once again for Wanderland. The album was issued in Europe only. Political reworkings within the U.S. wing of Virgin prevented a stateside release, which compelled Kelis to leave for Arista. Released in 2003, Tasty yielded the Top Ten hit "Milkshake," yet another Neptunes production. The song was nominated for a 2004 Grammy award in the category of Best Urban/Alternative Performance. After Kelis married Nas (a relationship that would last roughly four years), Kelis Was Here was released in 2006 through Jive, led by the duly assertive "Bossy