While we’re all blasting Beyoncé’s newly dropped “Act 1: Renaissance” album, another artist is asking to be heard over the loud music. Kelis, who many recognize for her song “Milkshake,” has called out Beyoncé and Pharrell Williams for sampling her 1999 single “Get Along With You” on the “Renaissance” track “Energy” without informing her.
Kelis took to Instagram today, July 29, to talk about why she found the move disrespectful and hypocritical considering how both Beyoncé and Williams advocate for artists’ rights.
“I have the right to be frustrated. Why? Because no one had the human decency to call me,” Kelis said about the track sampling which, ICYDK, is considered copyright infringement if done without permission. “So, all of you Beyonce fans, knock yourselves out. I’m not mad like that. It’s not about me being jealous. Jealous of someone using my song? That’s the dumbest, most ignorant thing I’ve ever heard… It has to do with the fact that, from one artist to another, you should have the decency and common sense and the courtesy to call.”
A number of Beyoncé fans have been countering Kelis’s claim that she should have been informed because the writing and producing credits for “Get Along With You” are under Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo of The Neptunes.
However, as Kelis explained in a follow-up video, Black female musicians like herself aren’t always given credit where credit is due. “We’ve got Pharrell, who did an interview last year talking about artists’ rights and how people should be able to rework their deals and artists should be getting credit for what they’ve done… when in reality, when I was signed to him, I had the same manager that he had and he has writing credits on my records, all my singles coincidentally, and he ain’t ever wrote a song, a lyric a day in his life,” she claimed.
In another shot at Beyoncé, Kelis added, “All this female empowerment only counts if you really do it.” We can’t say she’s not right in demanding for more genuine women solidarity in the music industry.
Beyoncé and Williams have yet to respond to the issue. Whether or not Kelis is legally entitled unpaid royalties off “Energy” is only part of the problem. As Kelis has stated, so many artists like her are often “swindled” off their hard work by bigger and more powerful artists or moguls in the industry.
As Vice has learned from music executives, “All too often, major labels prey on young, poor Black artists, offering them lopsided record deals in which the company owns their music in perpetuity.” If someone as iconic as Kelis is being treated this way, it’s safe to assume that other artists are experiencing far worse.