Kelis Didn't Know Beyoncé Was Sampling Her Song on 'Renaissance' : 'This Was a Trigger for Me'

Queen B's "Energy" samples Kelis' "Milkshake," on which Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo of The Neptunes are the sole credited writers and producers

Kelis is one of many musicians whose work is sampled on Beyoncé's new album Renaissance — and the "Bossy" hitmaker feels disrespected.

Queen B's new song "Energy" includes an interpolation of Kelis' 2003 signature hit "Milkshake," on which Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo of The Neptunes are the sole credited writers and producers. (Williams, 49, and Hugo, 48, are credited as co-writers on "Energy," per Genius — Kelis, 42, whose vocals do not appear on the Renaissance track, is not.)

Ahead of the Friday release of Renaissance, the musician and chef took to Instagram and expressed anger toward not being contacted about the song's use beforehand.

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After a fan account named @kelistrends shared a throwback photo of Kelis and Beyoncé, 40, alongside a caption mentioning that Renaissance "will include a @kelis sample on the song 'Energy'," the Grammy nominee left a comment from her verified @bountyandfull account, writing, "It's not a collab it's theft."

In follow-up comments, Kelis revealed that she heard about the sample "the same way everyone else did" and said, "The level of disrespect and utter ignorance of all three parties is astounding."

The comments quickly sparked online conversation, and the "Caught Out There" singer later posted two Instagram videos explaining her feelings toward the situation.

"I'm an artist, so I am — as Erykah [Badu] said, 'I'm sensitive about my s—,'" Kelis said on-camera. "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."

"The issue is that not only are we female artists, okay? Black female artists in an industry [where] there's not that many of us," she continued. "We've met each other, we know each other, we have mutual friends. It's not hard. She can contact, right?"

Kelis, Beyonce
Kelis, Beyoncé. Prince Williams/Getty; David M. Benett/Dave Benett/WireImage

Kelis then said pop singer Ashnikko, who sampled 1999's "Caught Out There" on her 2021 single "Deal With It," contacted her before using the song. "She's a young white girl, she reached out when she freakin' like… it's just common decency. It's common decency."

Seemingly referencing fans pointing out that Kelis doesn't have writing or production credits on the song, she added, "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 specifically mentioned Williams, 49, claiming the "Happy" musician "knows better."

"This is a direct hit at me," she said of her former collaborator, whom she alleged holds writing credits on many of their collaborative works despite not contributing lyrics. "He does this stuff all the time. It's very petty."

Representatives for Beyoncé, Kelis and Williams did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.

Pharrell and Kelis during MTV2's 2$Bill Concert Series Presents Fabolous & Clipse with special guest N.E.R.D's Pharrell at WWE World in New York City, New York, United States.
Pharrell and Kelis. James Devaney/WireImage

Kelis has previously called out The Neptunes, claiming she was "blatantly lied to and tricked" by Williams and Hugo, 48, into signing contracts in a 2020 interview with The Guardian that've caused her not to make any money from her first two albums, 1999's Kaleidoscope and 2001's Wanderland.

"I was told we were going to split the whole thing 33/33/33, which we didn't do," she said at the time. "[The Neptunes and their team's] 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.'"

Elsewhere in Kelis' Instagram rant, she said of the sample, "I have the right to be frustrated because no one had the human decency to call."

In the caption of her second video, she wrote, "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," continued Kelis.

"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," she concluded. "I'm coming for what's mine and I want reparations . Peace ."

Renaissance features a slew of other sampled works throughout its 16 tracks, including Big Freedia's "Explode" and "Show Me Love" by Robin S on lead single "Break My Soul."

Upon the song's June release, Big Freedia, 44, tweeted, "It feels surreal to be on the track with the Queen Beyonce once again [...] I'm so honored to be a part of this special moment."

The same week, Robin S, 60, appeared on ITV's Good Morning Britain and said Beyoncé's team didn't contact her before using the 1993 hit, noting, "It doesn't have to be confirmed. A singer knows her songs."

"This is Robin S, and this message goes out to the Queen Bey herself, Beyoncé, to JAY-Z, to the entire team," continued the house music performer. "Thank you so much for giving me my flowers while I'm still alive. I am honored, and I'm excited to see what else can happen."

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