There’s a lot to digest in Kelis’ Food album. I mean, can we discuss the grand sweep of “Forever Be”? Or the oh-so-cozy cover with Sal Masekela of Labi Saffre’s “Bless the Telephone,” an acoustic duet bound for an Apple iPhone ad if their marketing department has any sense. The inevitable guessing game that “Rumble” prods you into playing. And then there are the lyrical revelations wrapped in sunny trumpets.
But when Kelis visited MTV News just a few days after the release of her sixth LP in late April, I knew if nothing, I had to ask her about “Breakfast.” (No, not the poached egg variety!) The star of the Cooking Channel’s “Saucy & Sweet” tapped TV on the Radio guitarist and sought-after producer Dave Sitek to helm her grub-themed project, and the standout track is one of the most filling. Not just because it opens with her adorable 4-year old son, Knight, posing a layered question, but also for what the 34-year-old shares about lessons in love.
“I look at my little one, and it’s just funny to see who he’s becoming,” Kelis revealed of her pint-size co-star, who can be heard asking in the open, “Hey guys, are you hungry?/ My mom made Food.”
She giggled as she added of her tot with rapper/ex-husband Nas, “I realize that he does certain things, and it makes me laugh, and I’m like, ’Who are you? Where’d you get that from?!’ And then people will see him and they’re like, ’He’s so your child!’ [And] I’m like, well then, that’s where he gets it from — he just picks up everything.”
Watching her child in bloom also made the singer “look at [her] parents differently.” A native New Yorker, Kelis Rogers was raised by a jazz musician/professor dad and an FIT-trained mom who eventually opened a catering business. And it’s their influence — not some unnamed ex-boyfriend’s — that she’s alluding to when she sings in a beautifully ripened rasp on “Breakfast,” So much of who we are is from who first taught us how to love.
“I think about my mom and my dad, and the kind of parents that they were. They were great parents and they really nurtured [me]. … I think that I am who I am because of how they loved [my three sisters and me]. How you associate every relationship in your life is from who your parents were.
That piece of wisdom unlocked yet another door for Kelis.
“Just being aware of it — it just kind of struck me one day — everything I do is gonna be who [Knight] is,” she said, “and how he loves and who he falls in love with.”
Food for thought.