Beyoncé’s interpolation of her 2003 hit Milkshake, written by Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo of The Neptunes, irritated the singer. Beyoncé’s seventh album, Renaissance, was released this week to critical and fan acclaim, but one fellow pop artist isn’t singing her praises.
In a series of Instagram posts, singer Kelis chastised Beyoncé for allegedly sampling her 2003 single “Milkshake” without her permission on the new song “Energy.”
Milkshake, which appears on Kelis’ album Tasty, was written by The Neptunes’ Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo, who are also credited as co-writers on Energy. Kelis was not listed as a songwriter on Milkshake when it was first released, and her vocals are missing from “Energy.”
Despite this, the two-time Grammy nominee accused Beyoncé of “thievery” for interpolating the song. Kelis responded via the verified account for her product line, Bounty & Full, after an Instagram fan page mentioned the use of Milkshake on Energy this week.
“My mind is blown as well because the level of disrespect and utter ignorance displayed by all three parties involved is astounding,” she wrote in the post’s comments. “Nothing is ever as it appears; some people in this business have no soul or integrity and fool everyone.”
Kelis expanded on her stance in a pair of videos posted to her personal Instagram account on Thursday.
“The truth is that my real beef isn’t just with Beyoncé because, at the end of the day, she sampled a record,” she said in one. “She’s done this before, she’s copied me before, and so have many other artists.” It’s fine; I’m not concerned.”
“The issue is that we are not only female artists, okay?” “There aren’t many black female artists in this industry,” she continued. “We’ve met, we know each other, and we have mutual friends.” It’s not difficult. “Can she contact you?”
“It’s not a collaboration,” she clarified in a later video. It’s called thievery because collaboration implies that we’re working together. There can be no collaboration if you don’t check in to see if everything is fine.”
Beyoncé and Williams’ representatives did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment on Kelis’ remarks. Given that Kelis is not listed as a writer on Milkshake and does not own the song’s copyright, her claims are unlikely to be taken seriously in court. The singer, on the other hand, has previously chastised Williams and Hugo for failing to properly credit or compensate her for her work.
Kelis told The Guardian in 2020 that The Neptunes had “blatantly lied to and tricked” her during the early days of her career, claiming that Williams had stolen “all my publishing.”