N*E*R*D’s Shae Haley On Kaleidoscope, The Kelis Album That Started It All: The Fader


  • Admin

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    Congrats to Aaron/Mavis our Forum Member and Co. Admin for making his Fader debut with his Kelis article about the album that started it all. Back in 1999, a modern classic was set upon the world: Kelis' debut album, Kaleidoscope. It was the perfect soundtrack for the eve of a new millennium. Spaced-out pads, hard drum kicks, and cold synths gave the album a distinct electro-n-b feel we'd never heard before before.

    Kaleidoscope brought together a collective sci-fi vision of the 21st century, and presented it in song. Over the span of 14 tracks, the album covered everything from troubled relationships to pondering the existence of alien lifeforms. Hell, there was even a song about her stoner boyfriend getting sent by NASA to colonize Mars, because... why not? Regardless of the subject matter of any given song, there was a clear theme throughout Kaleidoscope: the idea of escapism, whether that meant escaping a cheating partner, a bad situation, or even an entire planet. It felt driven by the underlying optimism that something greater was waiting around the corner.

    One song that laid out this optimism most explicitly was “Ghetto Children," a riff on Slick Rick's "Hey Young World." Kelis used the joyous record to affirm and encourage: “No matter what teachers say to you/ Ghetto children are beautiful." But in addition to the value of its message, "Ghetto Children" was significant for one other reason. It was the first time N.E.R.D., the band comprised of Shae Haley, Chad Hugo, and Pharrell Williams, ever appeared on a record. It would be another three years before they released an album of their own.

    Ever a risk-taker, Kelis didn’t put major features on her first album, deciding to work with her then-unknown friends instead. (Kaleidoscope's second single, "Good Stuff," featured a pair of early verses from Clipse.) Over email, Shae recently recounted his first meeting with Kelis. “Pharrell introduced me to Kelis in ’98 at a studio in NYC. My initial thought was ‘She’s a f*ckin’ oddity’. She was the perfect first lady for the camp [Star Trak]," he said. "“Kelis has a relentless work ethic, while relishing the creative process. She’s hands down one of the funniest, [most] uncensored humans I’ve ever encountered.”

    Not long after that initial meeting, Kelis decided the band would be a perfect feature. “Kelis and Pharrell came up with the idea to feature N.E.R.D. and once I heard it, it was unanimous. The premise behind 'Ghetto Children' was to share positivity and aspiration. Kelis rented a house in Sandbridge, Virginia, and recorded the entire Kaleidoscope album there. Back then the creative process was either sifting through tapes full of loops [samples] or Chad and Pharrell banging away on the keys searching for a unique sound or idea," said Shae.

    “I can’t remember anything specific from that particular session ["Ghetto Children"] but while recording Kaleidoscope I do remember my first introduction to weed brownies. At the time I thought eating THC would instantly take effect, like smoking. I was all wrong. So two brownies led to three, when that shit kicked in, it was non-stop laughter and a bit of trippy hallucinating. My right eye still sporadically twitches from that experience.” It was those hazy sessions, hanging together in Virginia, that formed the basis of a near-mythical creative partnership that would span several years.

    When it came time for N.E.R.D. to release their debut album, In Search Of…, in 2001, Kelis was on hand again, appearing on the rock-rap-funk-orchestral-what-genre-is-this song “Truth Or Dare.” “'Truth or Dare' was, and still is, epic. She took a big dookie on that song. It has to be one of the top 50 hardest songs of all time," he said. “Kelis has a fearless, forward approach while giving no fucks. That level of confidence transcended for over a decade." When asked whether fans can expect Kelis and N.E.R.D. to collaborate once again, Shae only had one coy thing to say: “Time can only predict."

    https://www.thefader.com/2017/11/17/kelis-kaleidoscope-shae-haley-nerd-interview


  • Admin

    congrats brah so proud of you !!!!!!!!


  • Staff

    Thanks for sharing this dude! Shouts to @Matthew for linking me with the editor and Shae for being so supportive.

    They actually cut a little part out of the article! At the end I asked Shae if he had a message for Kelis.

    His response was - “KR you’re the truth. Congratulations!”

    I’m a little disappointed that was edited out. One of the main reasons I wanted to do this was so that Kelis could see they still support her. Still, it’s cool. Thank you mika ❤️❤️❤️ I hope everyone enjoys it - another weed brownie story for the archives



  • @Mavis congrats man!!!!! Hopefully your article is the catalyst for a legit Neptunes x Kelis Creative reunion.



  • @Mavis well done lad!



  • This is awesome Aaron, nice job! All this shine on NERD and Kelis is making me smile so much



  • @ReggieVolume Pharrell couldn’t get back in the studio with kelis just based on the fact that Helen would feel some type of way.



  • This is awesome, congratulations!

    I gotta be that guy though, you say Kaleidoscope was 1999 and In Search Of 2001 and yet say it took three years for a NERD album. Don’t hate me.



  • @3000 said in N*E*R*D’s Shae Haley On Kaleidoscope, The Kelis Album That Started It All: The Fader:

    This is awesome, congratulations!

    I gotta be that guy though, you say Kaleidoscope was 1999 and In Search Of 2001 and yet say it took three years for a NERD album. Don’t hate me.

    I was calculating too... couldn't find the math either.

    Anyway, very dope article! Congrats for the placement!



  • @3000 said in N*E*R*D’s Shae Haley On Kaleidoscope, The Kelis Album That Started It All: The Fader:

    This is awesome, congratulations!

    I gotta be that guy though, you say Kaleidoscope was 1999 and In Search Of 2001 and yet say it took three years for a NERD album. Don’t hate me.

    Three years for the “official” version. 2002.


  • Staff

    @3000 said in N*E*R*D’s Shae Haley On Kaleidoscope, The Kelis Album That Started It All: The Fader:

    This is awesome, congratulations!

    I gotta be that guy though, you say Kaleidoscope was 1999 and In Search Of 2001 and yet say it took three years for a NERD album. Don’t hate me.

    Haha - That wasn’t me who put 2001, that was the editor. Same person who added the false “clipse” fact. I count 2002 as the real time everyone received NERD.



  • @Mavis I wondered about those 'Clipse verses' on Good stuff. Crazy that they just added a bunch of incorrect info.

    Not to brag but I bought the digital version of In Search Of on the day of release in the UK in 2001, from Fopp just because I liked the cover. #humblebrag


  • Staff

    @mikitoramirez said in N*E*R*D’s Shae Haley On Kaleidoscope, The Kelis Album That Started It All: The Fader:

    @Mavis I wondered about those 'Clipse verses' on Good stuff. Crazy that they just added a bunch of incorrect info.

    Not to brag but I bought the digital version of In Search Of on the day of release in the UK in 2001, from Fopp just because I liked the cover. #humblebrag

    Yeah it’s annoying. Drew pulled me up those details too smh. But it’s long trying to get stuff changed and by the time I signed the contract I was too tired to argue over the edit.

    Do you still have your 2001 iso?



  • @Mavis Yeah, I still have it. It's in a box at my dad's place at the moment.



  • Congrats man


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