Declaring “it’s not a collab, it’s theft,” R&B icon Kelis has expressed serious displeasure that her song “Get Along With You” was sampled on Beyoncé’s song “Energy,” which appears on Bey’s just-released album, “Renaissance.”
The “Milkshake” singer’s problem isn’t money, however, it’s “the level of disrespect” from both Beyoncé and Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo, AKA The Neptunes, who produced and wrote the song from her debut album in 1999.
In a pair of videos posted to her Instagram business account, Kelis explained at length why she’s so upset – the disrespect but also, the fact that, in her version of events, it reminds her of how she’s been screwed out of royalties and music rights by her former collaborators, who she explained continue to license her music without even asking if she minds.
“I’m a human being, so I get pissed off and I get ticked off. Alright? I’m an artist, so I am as Erykah [Badu] said: ‘I’m sensitive about my s—.’ 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 in the first video.
“The issue,” she continued, “is that not only are we female artists, Black female artists in an industry where there’s not many of us… We’ve met each other, we know each other, we have mutual friends. She can contact me, it’s not that hard.”
“Ashnikko, who’s what, 20? She’s a young white girl, she reached out when she freakin’ like, it’s just common decency. It’s common decency. Especially because, as so many of you pointed out — I know what I own and what I don’t own. 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’s one issue, because it was stupid and disrespectful and she should have at least reached out,” Kelis added before also explaining she’s mad at her former collaborators Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo. Hugo, she said, “is an amoeba, he’s spineless, it’s a miracle he can keep his neck up.” As for Pharrell, she said he “knows better. This is a direct hit at me. He does this stuff all the time. It’s very petty.”
She called out the lack of “human decency” by the parties involved for not simply calling to ask if she’s OK – and she accused them of doing that on purpose.
In her follow up video, Kelis included a written message: “I just heard the record everyone is saying has my sample . But it’s beyond this song at this point . This was a TRIGGER for me . 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 bully’s [sic] 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. Peace .”
And in the video itself, she called out “the hypocrisy” of Williams, who she said talks about artists rights but doesn’t actually respect them. Watch that here.