What made Beyonce pull Kelis’ sample from “Energy?”
Pointy-eared fans who pressed Beyonce’s new album Renaissance today may have noticed that a few of the songs sound slightly different than they did on Friday when they dropped. On one song, ‘Heated’, a line was changed to replace a word described as an insult by disabled activists, following similar actions taken by fellow star Lizzo when the same concerns were raised about her song “Grrrls”.
The other subtle but important Renaissance change comes in the song “Energy”. Ahead of the album’s release, “Milkshake” singer Kelis posted a video raising concerns about the song, which she was told would include a snippet of one of her songs. Kelis believed she was uncredited and also felt she deserved a call from Beyonce or the song’s producers. It later turned out that although “Energy” included an interpolation of Kelis’ hit “Milkshake”, the writing of the song was correctly credited to Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo, aka The Neptunes, who wrote and produced. the original.
However, that didn’t stop fans from wondering whether or not there was an uncredited snippet of Kelis singing in “Energy,” so Beyonce apparently updated the song on DSPs to drop a vocal clip to the end of the track. Industry veteran Naima Cochran, whom Uproxx interviewed about the dispute, believes Beyonce did it to remove a distraction from the larger discussion she was hoping to spark with Renaissance on the scope and history of black music, which includes pioneering dance music styles like house and techno in addition to hip-hop and R&B.
So Beyonce technically did NOT pull a sample of Kelis from “Energy” because there never was in the first place. However, she removed disputed vocals that some fans thought were similar enough to confuse. The drum interpolation from Kelis’ single “Milkshake” remains, but it was correctly attributed to its original songwriters, The Neptunes. For more information, you can read our interview with Naima, who brings over 20 years of experience in the music business with multiple music labels to her expert perspective.