The origins of the Kelis and The Neptunes feud
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The origins of the Kelis and The Neptunes feud

In the late-1990s and early-2000s, The Neptunes were the most sought out producer duo in all of hip-hop. Comprised of the renowned Pharrell Williams and the lesser-known Chad Hugo, their unique sound and beautifully simplistic sonics were so prevalent that by 2003 The Neptunes were responsible for 43% of the songs on US radio.

The Neptunes worked with many artists during their heyday. However, one of their biggest protégés was Kelis. The tracks she made alongside the duo, such as ‘Caught Out There’, helped the vocalist secure a record deal in 1998. But one of her breakout hits was ‘Milkshake.’

This Neptune-produced song earned the New York singer her first top-three single on the Billboard Hot 100 and her first taste of international success, with the track hitting the charts across Europe as well as Australia and New Zealand. However, between her 2003 album Tasty and her 2006 project Kelis Was Here, something went wrong between the collaborators and over 15 years later, the singer has expressed her sentiments towards Hugo and Williams.

In an interview with The Guardian, the ‘Millionaire’ singer unveiled that she didn’t make any money off her first two albums, 1999’s Kaleidoscope and 2001’s Wanderland, produced by The Neptunes.

Explaining the initial agreement concerning money generated from sales, Kelis told the publication, “I was told we were going to split the whole thing 33/33/33, which we didn’t do! 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.’”

Later in the interview, the Harlem native explained that she was not angry but purposefully has chosen never to work with Pharrell again and insisted that he stole her publishing.

Speaking about Williams’ business practices, the singer detailed, “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, and people were swindled out of rights. It happens all the time.” You can hear more about the feud in the video below.