Kelis has said that she made no money from her first two albums, accusing production duo The Neptunes – Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo – of stealing her profits.
The Neptunes produced Kelis’ 1999 album ‘Kaleidoscope’ and 2001’s ‘Wanderland’ after meeting at New York’s Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts.
In an interview with The Guardian, Kelis said: “I was told we were going to split the whole thing 33/33/33, which we didn’t do”, and that she was “blatantly lied to and tricked” by “the Neptunes and their management and their lawyers”.
Recalling a time when she was in the audience at an industry event where Pharrell was performing, she said: “He did that thing to me that he’s notorious for, which is making a nod from the stage [to someone in the audience], so it seems like there’s mutual respect.”
She continued: “I’m like, OK, I’m not going to yell back ‘You stole all my publishing!’ So you end up nodding back and everyone thinks everything’s great. Like, whatever.”
Elsewhere in the interview Kelis discussed her ex-husband Nas, whom she said in 2018 had physically abused her before leaving her while she was seven months pregnant, the claims of which he has denied.
“Whether it’s the stuff with the Neptunes and being assaulted from a business perspective, to then being assaulted in the home, I fought so hard to have my own voice, even with the umbrella of these men looming over what I was trying to do,” she said.
Kelis is currently gearing up for a European tour in March to mark 20 years since the release of her debut album ‘Kaleidoscope.’
She was also announced for London festival SW4 last week alongside The Streets, Major Lazer and more.