Even though her song is no longer a part of Beyoncé’s Renaissance album, Kelis still had a few more things to say about it. After Bey removed the interpolation of Kelis’ signature 2003 hit “Milkshake” from “Heated” following Kelis’ public complaints that she was not properly credited, the battle appeared over.
But on Wednesday (Aug. 3), after Kelis posted a series of snaps of her new outfit on Instagram with the message, “Born in the heat of summer. I am my own validation. To all my beautiful AUGUSTANS, good morning,” followed a series of self care emoji, things got heated again.
While Beyoncé removed the interpolation without any comment this week, the BeyHive seemingly had a lot to say, with ‘Yonce’s supporters diving into the comments on Kelis’ post to tell the singer how they felt about the dust-up. “@kelis now back to the ghetto, you go! Bey snatched that sample down and now u will get no checks. Now keep the queens now out ya mouf!” read one heated response, while another person commented, “You happy girl? Now u irrelevant again.”
The unkind words led one commenter to suggest that Beyoncé’s followers are “depressed and sad,” which drew a very pointed rejoinder from Kelis: “they are a joke.” And when someone else called Bey’s devoted fans “straight crazy” and said “i ain’t never seen folks go so hard for someone that they never met or know personally,” Kelis responded, “It’s got cult written all over it.”
The insults included one from a commenter who called Kelis a “cry baby,” and wondered if she was happy now that the offending “la la la la la” bit was removed, Kelis responded, “Yes I am actually. lol nobody cried.”
When a commenter misstated her age — they claimed she was 57, when, in fact, she turns 42 on Aug. 21 — Kelis said, “lol if I’m 57 then I look incredible and your dumb a– should be more concerned with why I look so amazing instead of being such a miserable sheep lol.” Never one to hold her tongue, Kelis — who also responded with kind words to fans who praised her — wrote, “lol yeah, I said what needed to be said. #iwin,” after a BeyHiver said that “Beyoncé just made it right. Cut you off. No more drama.”
There was plenty more back-and-forth about the Renaissance track and the controversy, which kicked off after the album dropped last week featuring the interpolation. The “Milkshake” bit was credited in the liner notes to Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo of the Neptunes production team, credited as the writers and producers of the original Kelis album track.
Although Kelis is only credited as the singer on that song, she took shots at her former collaborators in a series of Instagram videos in which she said, “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. She’s done this before, so have many other artists. It’s fine, I don’t care about that.”
Mostly, it seemed, Kelis was angry that Bey, or her team, did not reach out to give her a head’s up about the interpolation, especially since, “we’ve met each other, we know each other, we have mutual friends. It’s not hard. She can contact, right?” But her real anger was aimed at Williams and Hugo, who she has frequently claimed “stole” the publishing on tracks they worked on together early in her career.
And it wasn’t the first time Kelis has called out her former collaborators, who produced her 1999 debut Kaleidoscope and 2003’s Tasty, which contained “Milkshake.” Due to being “blatantly lied to and tricked” to sign contracts based on “what I was told,” Kelis told the The Guardian in 2020 that she does not make any money from her debut or 2001’s Wanderland.
Speaking to Billboard the day after Renaissance‘s release, a copyright expert said Kelis has no legal standing because she is not credited as a songwriter on the track, which means she would not be a co-owner of the publishing copyright and thus would have nave the right to approve or deny the use of it on Bey’s track.
“To bring a copyright claim, you have to own a copyright,” Joseph Fishman, a professor at Vanderbilt Law School in Nashville and a national expert in music law, told Billboard. “If Kelis does not own a copyright on the song, she has no claim.”
Spokespeople for Kelis, Beyoncé and Williams have not returned multiple requests from Billboard for comment on the controversy.
Check out Kelis’ post below.