Beyoncé Has Removed Kelis’ ‘Milkshake’ Sample From Her Song ‘Heated’ After Backlash

Beyoncé‘s album Renaissance has been well-received by many fans and other artists, but not “Milkshake” singer Kelis. She called out Beyoncé on social media after the album released for not giving her a heads-up that she was using the sample in one of her songs. Now, the “Milkshake” sample has been removed completely.

Beyoncé, who sampled Kelis' Milkshake on her song 'Heated'
Beyoncé | Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times

Beyoncé sampled Kelis’ ‘Milkshake’ on her song ‘Energy’

The Renaissance track “Energy” is less than two minutes long, but it has caused controversy since its release. The song, which features Jamaican rapper Beam, contained elements of Kelis’ smash 2003 single “Milkshake” toward the end of the track.

Kelis was never notified about the sample, as she is only credited on the original track as a performer and not as a songwriter; those credits belong to Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo, a.k.a. The Neptunes, who produced the track and “blatantly lied to and tricked” Kelis back then, she told The Guardian in 2020.

Kelis took to Instagram to express her frustration after the album’s release.

“The reality is that my real beef is not only with Beyoncé, because at the end of the day, she sampled a record, she’s copied me before, so have many other artists, it’s fine, I don’t care about that,” Kelis said. “I have the right to be frustrated. Why? Because no one had the human decency to call and go, ‘Hey, we’d like to use your record.’”

She acknowledged that as the performer of the song, she doesn’t have the same rights to the track as The Neptunes do. But she still said that she would’ve appreciated a heads-up, especially from an artist who sings about uplifting other women.

Beyoncé removed Kelis’ part from the song

Following the backlash, Beyoncé’s team quickly went back into the studio to cut a new version of “Energy.”

The song was updated on streaming services in early August 2022, days after the album’s release.

Beyoncé changed another song on ‘Renaissance’

“Energy” isn’t the only song on Renaissance that had to undergo an emergency makeover. Standout track “Heated” features a rap breakdown at the end of the track which has quickly become a favorite for many fans.

Beyoncé’s rap, however, contained an ableist slur — the same one Lizzo came under fire for using in one of her own songs just a few weeks prior. Like Lizzo, Beyoncé knows the power of words, and quickly released a new version of the song with the lyrics updated.

Her team confirmed that “The word, not used intentionally in a harmful way, will be replaced.”

After Lizzo changed her song, she was proud to be learning as she went along. “This is the result of me listening and taking action,” she said. “As an influential artist I’m dedicated to being part of the change I’ve been waiting to see in the world.”

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