Beyoncé Sampled Kelis’ ‘Milkshake’ Without Her Knowing, and Kelis Wasn’t Happy

Beyoncé‘s album Renaissance has gotten people dancing to its wide variety of songs. The track “Energy” includes a sample from Kelis’ hit 2003 single “Milkshake.” But Kelis herself wasn’t thrilled with the song’s use.

Beyonce, who sampled Kelis
Beyonce attends the “Manus x Machina: Fashion In An Age Of Technology” Costume Institute Gala at Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 2, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for

Kelis responded to Beyoncé’s sample and wasn’t happy

Kelis took to Instagram to express her frustration following the release of Renaissance. She explained that she would’ve appreciated a heads-up.

“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. She said that she would’ve expected for someone to reach out ahead of the song’s release. “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 even though she’s the song’s artist, she doesn’t have the rights to the music due to her contract she signed decades ago. “As so many of you pointed out — I know what I own and what I don’t own,” she said. “I also know the lies that were told. I also know the things that were stolen. Publishing was stolen, people were swindled out of rights. It happens all the time, especially back then. So, it’s not about me being mad about Beyoncé.”

She called out Pharrell in particular, part of the production duo The Neptunes, who produced for countless artists including on “Milkshake.”

“Pharrell knows better. This is a direct hit at me,” she said, adding it was “very petty” and “passive aggressive.” 

Kelis, who called out Beyoncé
Kelis | Prince Williams/Getty Images

Kelis has had issues with Pharrell in the past

This isn’t the first time Kelis has spoken out about Pharrell’s treatment of her music.

She told The Guardian in 2020 that as a young artist she was “blatantly lied to and tricked” by “the Neptunes and their management and their lawyers and all that stuff.” As a result of the arrangement, she made nothing from her first two albums, which were produced by The Neptunes.

‘Milkshake’ is one of the most sampled songs of the past two decades

On one of her Instagram posts, Kelis spoke honestly about why she felt it was important to speak up and defend herself.

“This was a TRIGGER for me,” she said in her Instagram caption. “‘Milkshake’ alone is one of the most licensed records of our generation. I am a creator, I’m an innovator, I have done more then left my mark on an era of music and style that will go down in history. But there are bullies and secrets and gangsters in this industry that smile and get away with it until someone says enough is enough. So I’m saying it today.”

“I’m coming for what’s mine and I want reparations,” she concluded.

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