Reports state that ‘Energy’, sung by Beyoncé on her new album, Renaissance, will no longer contain the “la la la” of Kelis’ Neptunes-produced-hit ‘Milkshake’, following Kelis’ accusations of not being contacted about the use of her song as a sample.
Last week, Kelis took to social media to publicly rebuke Beyoncé and Neptunes producer Pharrell Williams for using her song without first consulting her. While Pharrell holds the copyright to the song and wouldn’t be legally bound to access permission to use or sell it, Kelis contended that in addition to Pharrell “swindling” her out of ownership rights, she still should have been contacted.
“It’s happened before, where people at least had the wherewithal to be like, ‘Yo, using your record. We understand that Pharrell totally swindled you out of your stuff, just want to get the respect.’ Because that’s what you do,” Kelis said on Instagram.
The sample removed from ‘Energy’ featured the “la la la” that leads up to Kelis’ famous chorus, “My milkshake brings all the boys to the yard.” Inspired by Pharrell’s nightclubbing travels in Brazil, the danceable inspiration for ‘Milkshake’ would’ve felt at home on Beyoncé’s Renaissance, an album that pulls from decades worth of popular dance music influence. But Kelis believes Pharrell’s swindle is more than just absent-minded industry business.
“Pharrell knows better,” she said in the same Instagram video. “This is a direct hit at me. He does this stuff all the time. The reason I’m annoyed is because I know it was on purpose.”
Her disagreement with Pharrell goes all the way back to the singer’s first two albums. Signed to the Neptunes-owned label ‘Star Trak Entertainment’, Kelis has said she made no money at all from the sales of 1999’s Kaleidoscope or 2001’s Wanderland.
“I was told we were going to split the whole thing 33/33/33, which we didn’t do,” Kelis told The Guardian in 2020. “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.’”
Despite having removed Kelis’ artist’s credit from ‘Energy’ as well as the ‘La La La’ sample, Beyoncé and Pharrell are yet to comment on the situation.