Kelis is stepping up to a megastar. The "Milkshake" singer called out Beyoncé and The Neptunes for allegedly failing to obtain her permission before sampling her 1999 song "Get Along With You" on Beyoncé's song "Energy," from her forthcoming Renaissance album.
According to a Kelis Instagram fan page, "@Beyonce's RENAISSANCE album will include a @kelis sample on the song 'Energy.'" Kelis responded on her Bounty & Full business account (via Entertainment Weekly), writing "My mind is blown too because the level of disrespect and utter ignorance of all 3 parties involved is astounding. I heard about this the same way everyone else did. Nothing is ever as it seems, some of the people in this business have no soul or integrity, and they have everyone fooled." In a later comment, she added, "it's not a collab it's theft."
Her comments having instigated some commotion online, Kelis' official Instagram account later posted some candid videos sharing more of her thoughts."Number one, so I'm a human being so I get pissed off and I get ticked off," she explained in the first video. "I'm an artist, so I am as Erykah [Badu] said 'I'm sensitive about my s---.' The reality is that my real beef, is not only with Beyoncé, because at the end of the day, she sampled a record, she's copied me before, so have many other artists, it's fine, I don't care about that."
Kelis noted that while she had no problem with the actual sample, her issue was "that not only are we Black female artists in an industry where there's not many of us," pointing out that the two have "met each other, we know each other, we have mutual friends."
"It's not hard. She can contact, right?" the singer added. "Ashnikko, who's what, 20? She's a young white girl, she reached out when she freakin' like, it's just common decency. It's common decency. Especially because, as so many of you pointed out — I know what I own and what I don't own.
"I also know the lies that were told. I also know the things that were stolen. Publishing was stolen, people were swindled out of rights. It happens all the time, especially back then. So, it's not about me being mad about Beyoncé."
Kelis also took aim at Pharrell Williams, who co-founded The Neptunes with Chad Hugo. "Pharrell knows better. This is a direct hit at me," she alleges, adding, "He does this stuff all the time. It's very petty." She concluded her remarks by calling the situation "stupid and disrespectful" and wishing someone on the production staff had just reached out to her.
A second video had her explaining that her issue wasn't about Beyoncé but the "hypocrisy and nonsense" within the music industry. "I just heard the record everyone is saying has my sample. But it's beyond this song at this point," Kelis captioned the video.0comments
"This was a TRIGGER for me. Milkshake alone is one of the most licensed records of our generation. I am a creator, I'm an innovator, I have done more then left my mark on an era of music and style that will go down in history. But there are bully's and secrets and gangsters in this industry that smile and get away with it until someone says enough is enough. So I'm saying it today. I'm coming for what's mine and I want reparations. Peace."
Kelis has expressed her dissatisfaction with Williams and Hugo before, telling The Guardian in 2020 that she didn't earn a cent from sales of her first two albums. She claimed she was "blatantly lied to and tricked" into signing those contracts by "the Neptunes and their management and their lawyers and all that stuff."