Kelis Says She Wasn’t Told Beyoncé Used Her Music on Renaissance

Beyoncé’s new album, Renaissance, includes a song that appears to sample Kelis. While the full credits for the track, “Energy,” have not yet been revealed, credited composers include Pharrell Williams and Chad (presumably Williams’ Neptunes bandmate Chad Hugo). Kelis has now said that she was not made aware that her music was going to be sampled on Renaissance. updated: Upon the release of Renaissancethe full credits revealed that it was not a sample after all, but an interpolation of “Milkshake.”

Kelis made her remarks in the comment section of a post from the @kelistrends fan page. “My mind is blown too because the level of disrespect and utter ignorance of all 3 parties involved is astounding,” she commented from the verified account for her company Bounty & Full. “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 fooled everyone.” In a subsequent comment, Kelis wrote, “it’s not a collab it’s theft.”

Pitchfork has reached out to representatives for Kelis for comment and additional information.

While “Milkshake” is formally a Kelis song, she is not listed as one of its producers, composers, or lyricists, per Tidal credits. The track’s producers are Chad Hugo, Pharrell Williams, Rob Walker, and the Neptunes. In addition, Hugo and Williams are the composers and lyricists of “Milkshake.” Kelis is referenced in the credits as the song’s performer.

In a 2020 interview with The GuardiansKelis claimed that “she made nothing from sales of her first two albums,” suggesting that she was “blatantly lied to and tricked” by “the Neptunes and their management and their lawyers and all that stuff.”

“I was told we were going to split the whole thing 33/33/33, which we didn’t do,” she said. “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.’”

Kelis is not the first artist to be surprised at being sampled on Renaissance. “Break My Soul,” the album’s lead single, samples Robin S.’ “Show Me Love,” and, therefore, credits songwriters Allen George and Fred McFarlane (but not Robin S.). In an interview with Good Morning BritainRobin S. said she had no formal contact with Beyoncé and her team ahead of the single’s release, and that she learned about the sample because her son told her she was “trending all over the place.”

Robin S. also thanked Beyoncé for sampling her music: “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 for giving me my flowers while I’m still alive. I am honored, and I’m excited to see what else can happen.”

Correction: An earlier version of this story erroneously claimed that “Get Along With You” appeared to be sampled on Beyoncé’s “Energy.”


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