Kelis is dropping another bombshell.
On the 20th anniversary of her debut album Kaleidoscope, the singer has accused The Neptunes of stealing the profits and publishing from her first two albums, Kaleidoscope and Wanderland. In an interview with The Guardian, Kelis claims Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo ripped her off.
“I was told we were going to split the whole thing 33/33/33, which we didn’t do,” she tells the U.K. newspaper, saying she was “blatantly lied to and tricked” by “The Neptunes and their management and their lawyers and all that stuff.”
Kelis claims she saw no money from the sales of her first two albums, which were produced by The Neptunes. It took her a few years to realize it because she was making money from touring, “and just the fact that I wasn’t poor felt like enough.”
She admits that she signed the contract, but was inexperienced at the time. “Their argument is: ‘Well, you signed it,’” she says. “I’m like: ‘Yeah, I signed what I was told, and I was too young and too stupid to double-check it.’”
While this is the first time she has gone public with the accusations, she did see Pharrell a few years ago while he was performing at an industry event. “And 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, when in reality…” she says with a laugh. “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.”
But she isn’t angry about it. “To be honest with you, I think if it were not for my faith, I feel like that would probably be the case,” she adds. “It’s very clear to me, especially being on a farm, that whatever you put in the ground, that is what’s going to come back to you.”
When asked if she would work with Pharrell again, she responds, “Ummm, at that point there’s having faith and there is also just stupidity.”
In 2018, Kelis accused her ex-husband Nas of mentally and physically abusing her during their six-year marriage. He strongly denied the allegations in an open letter.