Beyoncé has removed an interpolation of Kelis’ song Milkshake from her new song Energy, days after removing an ableist slur from another song on her latest album Renaissance.
At the end of the original version of Energy, Beyoncé sang a series of “las” to the tune sung by Kelis in the 2003 hit song Milkshake. Even before Beyoncé’s highly anticipated album was officially released on 29 July, Kelis has been outspoken about her displeasure that she wasn’t consulted about the decision, calling it an act of “thievery.”
But late on Tuesday, the version found on streaming platforms Tidal and Apple Music had been updated to remove the interpolation. Interpolation involves altering an existing sound, while sampling directly takes part of a song without changing it.
Kelis was not a writer or producer on Milkshake, with Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo, also known as the Neptunes, officially credited as the song’s writers.
Both Williams and Hugo were previously listed as composers on Beyoncé’s song Energy, but appeared to have been removed from the song’s listing on her website early on Wednesday once the track was updated.
In a Guardian interview from 2020, Kelis claimed she was “blatantly lied to and tricked” by the Neptunes and, as a result, “made nothing from sales of her first two albums.” In a Vulture interview earlier this year, Hugo brushed off the comments: “I heard about her sentiment toward that. I mean, I don’t handle that. I usually hire business folks to help out with that kind of stuff.”
Using Milkshake was a “trigger” for her, Kelis wrote on Instagram after Energy was released, and her comments were reflective of her wider dispute with Williams and Hugo. “It’s beyond this song at this point,” she wrote, adding, “it’s not about me being mad about Beyoncé.”
The Guardian has reached out to Beyoncé’s spokesperson for comment.
This is the second change made to Renaissance after its release on 29 July, with Beyoncé also changing a line in her song Heated to remove a word that is considered ableist.
“The word, not used intentionally in a harmful way, will be replaced,” a representative for the musician said in a statement.
On Tuesday, after the lyrics of Heated were changed, Monica Lewinsky, the activist and former White House intern who had an affair with US president Bill Clinton, tweeted “uhmm, while we’re at it… #Partition“. The hashtag referred to Beyoncé’s 2013 song that includes the lyric, “He Monica Lewinsky-ed all on my gown.”
Musician Lizzo removed the same ableist slur from her song Grrrrls last month.