“I’ve seen lots of lip-synching to ‘Milkshake’ in clubs," says Justin Bond of cabaret duo Kiki & Herb. “‘Milkshake’ is a big wink about the way you can reclaim your sexuality—it’s about making the person who’s objectifying you the weaker one.”
Kelis says would-be impersonators can even buy “Kelis” wigs up on 125th Street. “All my friends are gay guys. They’re always like, ‘You’re such a drag queen.’ I’m five ten, I wear tight clothes, and I sing.”
“People say, ‘You’re a strong female, so why are you wearing a bikini on the cover of that magazine?’ ”
Kelis met Nas in 2002, at a party hosted by P. Diddy; they married three years later. While Jay-Z and Beyoncé are hip-hop’s power couple, Nas and Kelis are its boho intellectuals. They divide their time between New York, Miami, L.A., and Atlanta, where they own a house in the country, complete with rampaging deer. “We’re both interested in really different things, and we met halfway,” says Kelis. “I like science fiction and he’s a biography guy. I like foreign films and he likes old movies.”
And they both enjoy serenading each other with dirty lyrics. On the new song “What’s That Right There,” Kelis says: “You likes it raw, I likes it on top / I got something for that lollipop.” The graphic rap chant “Blindfold Me” is an obvious attempt to score another “Milkshake,” though it’s far less catchy and witty. Kelis and the Neptunes parted ways after Tasty; she has dissed them in interviews, concerned that people assume she is a Svengali creation. But she seems unsure of her musical direction on the oft-delayed Kelis Was Here, which was produced by heavyweights like Scott Storch, Raphael Saadiq, and will.i.am of the Black Eyed Peas. The songs skitter from retro soul to Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam–style eighties pop to a New Wave kiss-off called “I Don’t Think So.” And she has tempered the bratty attitude with some love songs about her husband.
Nas ended a nasty, long-running feud with Jay-Z in October. In late 2006, he’s scheduled to release a hotly anticipated comeback album on Island Def Jam, which is run by Jay-Z. But Nas still has beef with other rappers, including 50 Cent, who mocked him for that nude wifey tattoo. And Kelis is obviously not the kind of woman to suffer mutely by her man’s side (see the album’s hidden track, “Fuck Them Bitches”).
“Everyone’s always trying to take cheap shots,” she complains. “But I’m not afraid. I’m not going to cower away because someone is bigger. I’m going to be like a BB gun that may not kill you but will really irritate you.”