Kelis is not pulling any punches when it comes to “coming for what’s [hers].”
The “Milkshake” singer called out Beyoncé and The Neptunes for allegedly failing to get her permission to sample her 1999 song “Get Along With You” on Beyoncé’s song “Energy,” from her upcoming album renaissance (which releases tonight).
In a series of comments on Instagram from her Bounty & Full business account, the singer did not mince words when a Kelis Instagram fan page announced that “@Beyonce’s RENAISSANCE album will include a @kelis sample on the song ‘Energy.’ ” Via her business account, Kelis wrote, “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.”
Naturally, her comments ignited a bit of an internet firestorm, and she later took to her official Instagram account to share more of her thoughts in some candid videos.
“Number one, so I’m a human being so I get pissed off and I get ticked off,” she explains 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 her issue isn’t the sample itself, but “that not only are we Black female artists in an industry where there’s not many of us” and noted that the two singers have “met each other, we know each other, we have mutual friends.”
“It’s not hard. She can contact, right?,” she continues, “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.”
She goes on to call out 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 concludes, saying it was “stupid and disrespectful” and that she wishes the renaissance singer or Williams or Hugo or someone involved in the production had just reached out to her.
Prince Williams/Getty; Albert L. Ortega/Getty Kelis and Beyoncé
In a second video, she again stated that her issue is “really not about Beyoncé,” it’s about “hypocrisy and a lot of nonsense” in the industry itself.
“I just heard the record everyone is saying has my sample. But it’s beyond this song at this point,” Kelis wrote in a caption alongside the second video. “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 shared her displeasure with Williams and Hugo in the past, telling the Guardian in 2020 that she made nothing from sales of her first two albums, and that she was “blatantly lied to and tricked” into signing those contracts by “the Neptunes and their management and their lawyers and all that stuff.”
Representatives for Beyoncé, Kelis, and The Neptunes did not immediately respond to a request for comment.