Beyoncé has removed the use of “Milkshake” from her new song “Energy” after Kelis mauled the singer for playing the 2003 hit, calling it an act of “theft.”
It was an unexpectedly rocky release week for Beyoncé, who despite rave reviews for her disco-dance album Renaissancehas had a series of blips and changes after song release.
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Days before it came out last Friday, the album leaked online — a rare hiccup for the famously buttoned-up artist. On Monday, Beyoncé announced she would be removing the word “spaz” from her song “Heated” after criticism from critics who said the word is an offensive slur. (Lizzo similarly removed the word from her song “Grrrls” earlier this summer.)
Now Tidal and Apple seem to have removed an interpolation from Kelis’ song “Milkshake” that appears at the end of “Energy”. In a brief outage, Tidal was… nothing but playing the isolated vocals of the interpolation, while the rest of the nearly two-minute track was silent. It is unclear when other streaming services will update the track on their platforms. Representatives of Beyoncé, Kelis and Tidal did not immediately respond to rolling Stone‘s requests for comment.
The controversy between the two artists started hours before the album’s official release when Kelis used her chef’s Instagram account to express her frustration that her song was being used and she wasn’t getting the courtesy of a heads up, late stand that she was asked for her blessing. “It’s not a collab, it’s theft,” she wrote.
“My mind is also stunned because the level of disrespect and total ignorance of all three parties involved is astonishing,” she added. “Nothing is ever what it seems, some people in this business have no soul or integrity, and they have fooled everyone.”
Full credits later revealed that the song in question was “Milkshake,” which featured Kelis’ former producers Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo on the track. Beyoncé’s website also noted that the song is interpolated, taking an existing sound and modifying it, while sampling comes straight from a song with no changes.
Regardless of whether the song was used in a minor way or modified to fit Beyoncé’s dance number, Kelis wasn’t happy, saying the whole situation was a “trigger” point for her. “It’s more than this song right now,” she wrote in an Instagram caption. “There are bullies and secrets and gangsters in this industry who smile and get away with it until someone says enough is enough. So I say it today. I come for what is mine and I want reparations.”
Kelis also called out Williams, a former close friend who worked with her exclusively with Chad Hugo on her first two albums. Their relationship broke down after Kelis claimed Williams and Hugo “lied and cheated” her into a rough deal. Instead of splitting things “33/33/33”, Kelis told the guard in 2020she had no rights to her early music and eventually only made money by touring her first albums.
Referring to the controversial relationship in her Instagram video, she said: “Publication was stolen, people were ripped off from rights. It happens all the time, especially then. So it’s not about me being mad at Beyoncé.”
“Pharrell knows better,” she added. “This is a direct hit on me” [and] he does this all the time. The reason I’m annoyed is because I know it was on purpose.”
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