Kelis broke into the music industry on the strength of her connection with the recently-reunited production duo, The Neptunes, but that relationship is now strained. The singer and chef shared in a new interview that she was stiffed out of money due to her from her time with The Neptunes and shared other details of her life.
Sitting down with The Guardian, Kelis, 40, opens up about uprooting from Los Angeles after realizing she no longer enjoyed the bustling city outside of her duties as an entertainer and decided to move well over two hours away to a 24-acre farm with her husband and two sons. The interview opens with her duties on the farm while aiming to open a restaurant but the conversation was mostly centered on the 20th anniversary of her debut album, Kaleidoscope, which was released in December 1999.
A portion of the interview that turned heads on Twitter was the fact that Kelis claims Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo promised a 33/33/33 split of profits but that it never materialized.
From The Guardian:
“I was told we were going to split the whole thing 33/33/33, which we didn’t do,” she says. Instead, she says, she was “blatantly lied to and tricked”, pointing specifically to “the Neptunes and their management and their lawyers and all that stuff”. As a result, she says she made nothing from sales of her first two albums, which were produced by the Neptunes. But she did not notice for a few years, because she was making money from touring, “and just the fact that I wasn’t poor felt like enough”, she says. She sighs: “Their argument is: ‘Well, you signed it.’ I’m like: ‘Yeah, I signed what I was told, and I was too young and too stupid to double-check it.’” (Pharrell and Hugo did not respond to repeated requests for comment.)
And they were your friends so you trusted them, I say.
“Yeah, it’s amazing,” she shrugs.
On Twitter, folks have been chiming in about the allegations that The Neptunes froze out Kelis from earning promised money from her recordings. She also goes into great lengths about her former marriage to Nas and the physical abuse she allegedly said she suffered while with him. The two are parents to Kelis’ oldest son, Knight, who lives at the California farm as well.
In case anyone thinks Kelis will work with Pharrell, think again. The article clearly highlights that it would take a miracle for that to happen.
Check out the reactions to Kelis saying The Neptunes owe her some bread below. For balance, we added some comments that show the other side of the argument as well.
I say it often, Kelis and Amerie are the blueprints for a lot of this shit and a lot of these favs. And they both got screwed over by the industry.— a princess diana stan account (@seabethree) January 30, 2020
this is so disappointing and changes the whole narrative. I commend kelis for her courage + faith; she will forever be the blueprint! https://t.co/gA8ThQXKbS— TANI (@TANIRICHES) January 30, 2020
pharrell nodding to kelis after stealing SO much money from her is even more disrespect. goofy shit.— 🌺 skkrrtt cobain (@tirhakahlove) January 30, 2020
Pharrell better run Kelis a MIGHTY check. pic.twitter.com/1RhoC277eN— Kayla (@kaykaylita) January 30, 2020
Deadass, all the power to Kelis for calling out The Neptunes and Nas with her chest for screwing her over. I’m disgusted. Not a dime off her albums...I, for one, would like to riot https://t.co/3TQ1jarXIA— evil flat-chested wench (@troytheboyy) January 30, 2020
Pharrell has been “canceled” on here before, but then he posted a selfie and had y’all asking for his skincare routine, so I doubt this Guardian story with Kelis will be any different.— ᴅᴏʟʟᴀʀ (@callmedollar) January 30, 2020
Kelis ain’t write shit, ain’t produce shit but expected a 33/33/33 split pic.twitter.com/QYRy4Lkk96— The OG Millenial 🛸 Out Now (@RadioSyheem215) January 30, 2020
Love Kelis’ music, but she does this every 10 years where she talks about her deal with The Neptunes. But she never sold units like that to begin with.— sʜᴏᴍɪ ᴘᴀᴛᴡᴀʀʏ (@shomipatwary) January 30, 2020
Kelis didn’t write milkshake it was a Britney Spears song that was given to her by the Neptune’s if you don’t write your song you don’t get publishing there is nothing to be stolen only way kelis got scammed is by the Neptune’s writing her hits pic.twitter.com/d40NO3zZoa— God Of Weed (@dances) January 30, 2020
Kelis wouldn't even be the Kelis you all admire and adore if it wasn't for Pharrell. Case in point, when have you heard another song like "Milkshake" or anything good from her for that matter after she left? That's the REAL reason she can't get mad. https://t.co/0oGBIpKEQz— CryptographyAC_ (@CryptographyAC_) January 30, 2020
Kelis First album made no money— God Of Weed (@dances) January 30, 2020
second album made none
both had expensive production from the Neptunes who had to get paid
Kelis also had no big singles that charted
No artist in Kelis position during that era would have seen money
She should be happy she got a 3rd album https://t.co/iIjNeaGobH