Kelis Signs With Ninja Tune
In a move I didn’t see coming, legendary/contrary singer Kelis has signed up with equally legendary beats innovators/label Ninja Tune. Nice connect. They both arguably hit their peaks at the same time, with Kelis’ ‘Trick Me’ and ‘Milkshake’ getting blasted by the same DJs that were spinning Ninja Tune classics, way back in the mid 00s, so seen from that perspective it makes sense, but they’ve both endured a bit of dry period, before both returning to form of late – Ninja Tune have had a big month, fresh from their big Solid Steel Radio celebrations, and Kelis has been getting some blog love with her recent releases.
“I’m really happy to be partnering with Ninja Tune on my new record. This is the album I’ve wanted to make for a long time and I want the team around me to be as excited and energetic about it as I am. I’m also very happy to be working with some of the most creative people in the industry.”
Kelis, after middling at best dalliances with the likes of Guetta, Benny Benassi and will.i.am, changed direction again, this time for the best, looking for a “real 1990s vibe… kind of trip-hoppish…. more electro, it’s a little deeper and darker,” bringing in the likes of Skream, BURNS, Dan Black, Tom Neville, Caspa and Dave Sitek (TV On The Radio), the latter of which is slated as the producer on her upcoming release, entitled Food, in April ’14. The material she worked on with the others will not make the album, but they should all see the light of day at some stage, hopefully-that’s some good producers right there. Two Skream tunes have been released – ‘Copy Cat’, and ‘Distance,’ – both fairly tasty, but her jam with Dan Black wasn’t quite what it could have been. The previously released tunes with Dave were nice, ‘Call On Me’ and ‘Jerk Rib,’ but both have disappeared from her soundcloud, only available from dodgy youtubes, and a dodgy download site. They’re both sparsely produced, signalling a pretty interesting direction, somewhat neo-soul, yet even more forward sounding than that tag implies, with a large slab of electronica/triphop goodness in the mix. She’s described the album as sounding like “…love and summer balled up into one!”
let’s watch some videos…
Kelis shot into the musical conscious with her shoutyrap classic,’Caught out There’
and it’s follow up, ‘Good Stuff’
Before going nuclear, with ‘Milkshake’ from her 3rd album, Tasty, which also contained
DJ fave ‘Trick Me’
Since then? ‘Bossy’ was nice, but most of her other material was a bit forgettable
she guested on a few nice tunes, the best was probably her tune with Andre 3000, pretty dope stuff
But her Main Room House stuff, not so much… Guetta’s ‘Acapella,’ her first attempt at a big sonic switch,
and Benassi’s ‘Spaceship’
Her collabo with Calvin Harris, ‘Bounce’ was marginally better.
Before a Trip Hop quick switch up…
Which brings us to the legends of Trip Hop, the Ninja Tune crew. Damn they rolled deep…
The bosses, Coldcut
Alongside so many next level dudes like DJ Food
Tea and Pie connoisseur Mr Scruff
scratch champ and all round awesome dude Kid Koala [sidenote: his set at The Clare on Broadway-best DJ set EVER-no headphones, just a bro (P=Love), 4 decks, stacks of classic tunes, NOT ONE SINGLE BAD MIX ALL NIGHT]
ol mate Vibert releases in many shapes and disguises, but mostly Wagon Christ for Ninja Tune…
Cinematic Orchestra, who brought the lush live orchestral jazz flavours
Influencing later signees Skalpel, who soundtracked many a comedown with ‘Sculpture’ and ‘1958’
Over at their uk hiphop affiliate Big Dada, Wiley is “back where I wanna be” and back on form…
As is the bro Ty
Roots Manuva has been holding it down for them at Big Dada the whole time
with a lil help from Toddla T
After putting all their chips on Pop Levi, which didn’t quite come off
They rebuilt their producer roster;
The Bug kept it pretty raw, aiding in the transition to post Dubstep apocalypse
to the likes of..
Slugabed was a big signing, one of their next gen poster kids…
FaltyDL did some good stuff…
Congo Natty has dropped a classic Jungle set…
Machinegun has been smashing it…
Bonobo has had a big year, his LP The North Borders was AMAZING
As was his work with Andreya Triana
Sydney based Steve Spacek just teased his upcoming Ninja album with a sneaky single release
With a bunch of other cats like Emika, Letherette, Daedalus, The Qemists, Blockhead and Fink dropping some serious heat all the while, it looks to be a full blown Ninja revival, with the Kelis record just another step into the new Ninja dawn.
Bring it on.