Kelis accuses Beyoncé of sampling her music without her blessing: ‘Stupid, disrespectful’ 

The song, “Energy,” a track on Beyoncé's seventh album, which was released today, is an interpolation of Kelis' hit single, "Milkshake."

Singer Kelis kicked off a firestorm on social media Thursday when the track list and several songs from Beyoncé’s seventh album leaked, and one featured an interpolation of her hit single, “Milkshake.” 

Per Pitchfork, in comments under an Instagram fan page dedicated to her music, Kelis wrote: “My mind is blown too because the level of disrespect and utter ignorance of all 3 parties involved is astounding,” making her contentions from the verified account of Bounty & Full, her farm and food service company. “I heard about this the same way everyone else did.”

Kelis (left) appears to be upset that the latest project by Beyonce (right) features a track that is an interpolation of her 2003 hit, “Milkshake.” (Photos: Randy Shropshire/Getty Images and Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)

“Nothing is ever as it seems,” she continued, declaring “some of the people in this business have no soul or integrity and they have everyone fooled.” In a subsequent comment, Kelis asserted, “it’s not a collab it’s theft.”

The new Beyoncé song, “Energy” (featuring Beam), on her album Renaissance, which was released today, is an interpolation of “Milkshake,” a hit from Tasty, Kelis’ 2003 LP, yet she’s not mentioned in its credits. Listed as composers of “Energy” are Beyoncé, Skrillex, Tyshane Thompson, Beam, Almando Cresso, Jordan Douglas, Tizita Makuria, Denisia “Blu June” Andrews, Brittany “@Chi_Coney” Coney, Terius “The-Dream” Gesteelde-Diamant, Mary Christine Brockert, Allen Henry McGrier, Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo.

In one of her own Instagram videos, Kelis notes, “The reality is that my real beef is not only with Beyoncé because at the end of the day, she’s sampled a record, she’s copied me before … it’s fine.”

“The issue is that not only are we Black female artists in an industry where there’s not many of us,” she adds, maintaining she and Beyoncé have “met each other, we know each other, we have mutual friends, it’s not hard, she can contact, right? It’s just common decency, especially because … I know what I own and what I don’t own.”

“I also know the lies that were told, I know the things that were stolen,” Kelis writes, adding, “It’s not about me being mad at Beyonce. She is one issue because it was stupid and disrespectful, and she should have at least reached out.”

Kelis then says of Williams, her former producer, that the creative move was a “direct hit” at her. She concludes: “I have the right to be frustrated.”

Kelis claims her song is one of the most widely licensed in R&B, and she has long complained that the production team, The Neptunes, which pairs Williams and Hugo, manipulated her in her youth to prevent her from getting properly credited for her music. 

“I was told we were going to split the whole thing 33/33/33, which we didn’t do,” she told The Guardian in 2020. “Their argument 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.’”

House music queen Robin S. was another performer who was sampled but not credited on Renaissance; her 1993 track “Show Me Love” anchors “Break My Soul,” the album’s first single. On a TV show last month, her response was very different — sheer gratitude: “I am honored, and I’m excited to see what else can happen.”

“This is Robin S., and this message goes out to the Queen Bey herself, Beyoncé, to Jay-Z, to the entire team: Thank you so much,” said the singer, “for giving me my flowers while I’m still alive.”

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