Kelis Says Pharrell And The Neptunes Never Paid Her For Her First Two Albums

Multifaceted singer Kelis says that she was “blatantly lied to and tricked” about her first record deal with Pharrell and The Neptunes in a new profile in The Guardian, maintaining that she was never paid from her first two albums. She cites this discrepancy as the reason for her falling out with the production duo, as well as her decision to record her third album, Tasty, with outside producers instead of with The Neptunes as usual.

She says that initially, she didn’t even notice the missing money because “just the fact that I wasn’t poor felt like enough” and she was making money from touring, but that she was told “we were going to split the whole thing 33/33/33, which we didn’t do.” She also says that they were nonchalant when she brought it up. “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.’” Kelis signed her first record deal at 19.

Kelis’ decision to work with outside producers had a further detrimental effect on their relationship, says. “I could tell they were really offended,” she admits, but maintained a cordial relationship with them. She says she saw Pharrell at a corporate event and he nodded to her from the stage. “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.”

She also maintains her previous claims that she was abused in her marriage with rapper Nas, but that “I’m not broken. But I don’t feel like protecting the sanctity of the Black man any more.” She now lives on a farm in wine country two hours outside of LA and is preparing to embark on her Kaleidoscope Tour in Europe, while the 20-year reissue of her debut album Kaleidoscope is February 21.

Read the full profile here.