Kelis Accuses Beyoncé Of 'Thievery' Over 'Renaissance' Song Sample

The singer took issue with Beyoncé's interpolation of her 2003 hit "Milkshake," which Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo of The Neptunes are credited with writing.
Beyoncé released her seventh studio album, "Renaissance," this week.
Beyoncé released her seventh studio album, "Renaissance," this week.
CBS Photo Archive via Getty Images

Beyoncé unveiled her seventh album, “Renaissance,” to rave reviews from critics and fans this week ― but one fellow pop artist isn’t singing her praises.

In a series of Instagram posts, singer Kelis criticized Beyoncé for sampling her 2003 single, “Milkshake,” on the new song “Energy,” allegedly without her permission.

Writing credits on “Milkshake,” which appears on Kelis’ album “Tasty,” belong to Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo of The Neptunes ― both of whom are also credited as co-writers on “Energy.” Kelis was not listed as a songwriter on “Milkshake” upon its initial release, and “Energy” does not include her vocals.

Still, that didn’t stop the two-time Grammy nominee from accusing Beyoncé of “thievery” over her interpolation of the song. After an Instagram fan page mentioned the use of “Milkshake” on “Energy” this week, Kelis fired back via the verified account for her product line, Bounty & Full.

“My mind is blown too because the level of disrespect and utter ignorance of all 3 parties involved is astounding,” she wrote in the comments of the post. “Nothing is ever as it seems, some of the people in this business have no soul or integrity and they have everyone fooled.”

On Thursday, Kelis amplified her stance in a pair of videos posted to her personal Instagram account.

“The reality is that my real beef is not only with Beyoncé, because, at the end of the day, she sampled a record,” she said in one. “She’s copied me before, she’s done this before, so have many other artists. It’s fine, I don’t care about that.”

“The issue is that not only are we female artists, okay? Black female artists in an industry [where] there’s not that many of us,” she continued. “We’ve met each other, we know each other, we have mutual friends. It’s not hard. She can contact, right?”

In a later video, she added: “It’s not a collaboration. It’s called thievery because the definition of collaboration means we are working together. There’s no working together if you are not checking in to see if everything’s cool.”

Representatives of Beyoncé and Williams 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 is not the song’s copyright holder, her claims are not likely to hold much legal weight. The singer, however, has called out Williams and Hugo on previous occasions, saying they did not properly credit or compensate her for her work — an allegation she reiterated in her Instagram videos on Thursday.

Speaking to The Guardian in 2020, Kelis said she’d been “blatantly lied to and tricked” by The Neptunes during the early days of her career, claiming that Williams had stolen “all my publishing.”

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