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Beyoncé has removed the sample of "Milkshake" in her song "Energy" from her new album Renaissance on some streaming platforms after Kelis claimed it was an act of theft.
Fans noticed Tuesday that the interpolation — which alters a sample of a track rather than repeating it wholesale — had been removed from some streaming services, but not yet from YouTube, where listeners can still hear the "la-la, la, la…la” line from "Milkshake."
I’m so glad someone did this, because the first listen I missed it. If you squint your ears, you can hear the sample of Kelis’ “Milkshake” on Beyoncé’s “Energy.”
On July 25, after a Kelis fan account posted that Beyoncé had sampled the 2003 hit "Milkshake," Kelis commented that she had heard about it the "same way everyone else did."
“Nothing is ever as it seems, some of the people in this business have no soul or integrity and they have everyone fooled," Kelis commented. She also called it "theft" and not a collaboration.
Beyoncé has officially removed Kelis’ sample from her #RENAISSANCE song “ENERGY”. The sampled beat is no longer heard on streaming services, and her credits have been removed.
Kelis then went live on Instagram to call out Beyoncé and former collaborators the Neptunes, who produced Kelis's first three albums. The Neptunes, made up of Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo, allegedly "swindled" Kelis out of owning her music, which has fueled a yearslong feud among the former collaborators. (Kelis isn't credited as a writer or producer of "Milkshake" and so has no legal claim to the song.)
As of Tuesday, both Williams and Hugo were still credited as writers on the "Energy" track on Spotify.
“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," Kelis said on Instagram. "Publishing was stolen, people were swindled out of rights — it happens all the time, especially back then."
Since Beyoncé released Renaissance, it's been met with some criticism, not just from Kelis. On Monday, songwriter Diane Warren tweeted and then apologized for her confusion over how "Alien Superstar" credited 24 writers. But having that many songwriters is a growing trend. Beyoncé, along with several other pop artists, has recently turned to songwriting camps to write albums, where dozens of people collaborate on one track.
Beyoncé also faced backlash for using the ableist term "spaz" in her song “Heated,” prompting a representative for the singer to pledge that the lyric would be changed.
Representatives for Beyoncé and Kelis did not immediately respond to requests for comment.