Beyonce Removes Kelis Interpolation From “Energy” After Theft Claim

Beyoncé has removed the interpolation of Kelis‘ 2003 hit “Milkshake” from her Renaissance track “Energy” on Tidal and Apple, after the latter called out the music superstar and The Neptunes for allegedly failing to seek permission for usage.

On Tuesday, Kelis did not appear in the song’s credits, as seen by Billboard.

While Kelis sang “Milkshake,” written by The Neptunes’ Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo, only the production duo are credited as songwriters. The artist, upon hearing the song, aired her grievances via Instagram on Thursday via comments from her Bounty & Full business account.

After a Kelis Instagram fan page announced that “@Beyonce‘s RENAISSANCE album will include a @kelis sample on the song ‘Energy,’” alongside a mind-blown emoji, Kelis commented: “My mind is blown too because the level of disrespect and utter ignorance of all 3 parties involved is astounding.”

At the time, she noted that she found out about the interpolation “the same way everyone else did,” suggesting that she had not gotten a heads up beforehand, slamming people in the music business who have “no soul or integrity.”

Another fan wrote in the comments section, “Thats a collab the world really needs,” with Kelis responding, “It’s not a collab it’s theft.”

The Hot 100 chart-topping artist made it clear that she’s not mad about the lift itself, but that “not only are we Black female artists in an industry where there’s not many of us,” pointing out that she and Bey have met, know each other and have mutual friends. “It’s not hard. She can contact, right?” Kelis said, noting that 20-year-old singer Ashnikko reached out when her 2021 song “Deal With It”  sampled Kelis’ “Caught Out There.”

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Thursday’s comments aren’t the first time Kelis has called out her former collaborators The Neptunes, who produced her first album, 1999’s Kaleidoscope. Due to being “blatantly lied to and tricked” to sign contracts based on “what I was told,” Kelis told the The Guardian in 2020 that she does not make any money from her debut or sophomore album Wanderland. (“Milkshake” appears on her 2003 album, Tasty.)

“I was told we were going to split the whole thing 33/33/33, which we didn’t do,” Kelis told the outlet then. “Their argument [from The Neptunes and their team] is, ‘Well, you signed it.’ I’m like, ‘Yeah, I signed what I was told, and I was too young and too stupid to double-check it.’”

At press time, spokespeople for Williams and Beyoncé had not returned requests for comment on Kelis’ claims.

This story first appeared on Billboard.com.