Two decades after the release of her debut album, Kelis isn’t mincing her words.
The NYC native spoke candidly while putting her career in perspective with The Guardian in a brutally honest interview released Thursday (Jan. 30). One quote that stood out among the rest was Kelis’ claim that The Neptunes — the production duo of Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo — kept all the profits from her first two albums.
The Neptunes fully produced both of her first two albums: 1999’s Kaleidoscope and 2001’s Wanderland. What seemed to be a safe creative space turned out to be the opposite, as she was “lied to and tricked,” she claims. “I was told we were going to split the whole thing 33/33/33, which we didn’t do,” Kelis claimed, holding Pharrell and Hugo’s management team and attorneys liable in the mess as well.
Kelis went on to say that she didn’t even notice the publishing money missing from all the sales for her first two projects for a few years, because she was living off of her touring money. “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,'” she said.
The “Bossy” singer credits her faith for keeping her grounded and not being bitter about the whole situation. She actually saw Pharrell at a show somewhat recently, which just resulted in an awkward head-nod exchange. “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,” she said.
Check out the entire interview over at The Guardian.