Thursday, August 16, 2007


Has anyone ever had a more bizarre career than R. Kelly? It's been nearly two decades since he burst onto the scene, and he's still as relevant as ever. He has sold over 50 million albums worldwide and won multiple Grammys. He's written songs for both Janet AND Michael Jackson. He did a duet with Celine Dion that went to #1 on the charts. And if you turn on pop radio right now, there is a good chance you will hear a song that R. Kelly either performs, produced or wrote. Recently, he's linked up with T-Pain, T.I., Snoop, Young Jeezy, Usher etc., and there hasn't been a time over the past 17 years that he wasn't cranking out hits.

However, his career has been plagued with personal problems (This is a huge understatement). In the early 90's, Kelly was allegedly married to a then 15 year old Aaliyah. In 2004, a back-up dancer and mother of his three children that would later become his wife, filed a restraining order against him, claiming he physically and verbally assaulted her. On September 17, he finally goes to trial on 14 charges of child pornography. (Among them is Kelly giving a 14 year old a golden shower on video.) Clearly the man is no saint. Yet amazingly, even though it's widely assumed that he's a petterass, it really hasn't had any negative impact on his career. I find this to be strange since no one likes a child molester. I find this especially strange because his songs are in large part for and about the ladies. Apparently, it bothers no one that he is probably singing about a girl that is too young to take her state driving exam .

Musically, the thing I always found compelling about R. Kelly is that he always seemed to be equal parts genius and unintentional comedy. He was just as likely to put out critically acclaimed songs with mass appeal like "I Believe I Can Fly" as he was to put out borderline comical songs like "Feelin' On Yo Booty" or "You Remind Me of Something". Even when he would release songs like the highly emotional "I Wish", Kelly would just start belting out absurd things like "come on and braid my hair!" repeatedly at the end of the song. He would tug at my heartstrings by inserting a chorus of kids to sing a hook, or by describing how he would gladly give up his success for the opportunity to have one more conversation with his dead mother. Then he would turn around and make laugh my ass off by turning "booty" into an eleven syllable word.

I never knew if I should be laughing at R. Kelly or with him until now. He recently came out with TEN MORE CHAPTERS OF THE "TRAPPED IN THE CLOSET" SAGA, and is releasing a new uncensored chapter each day!!! The first twelve chapters were so ridiculous that they spawned a SOUTH PARK episode and a Weird Al Yankovic parody, but they are nothing compared to the latest incarnation. I now know that R. Kelly has been toying with us for all these years. There is just NO WAY that this is anything but a joke. So kudos to you R. Kelly! You win. Even though the "Ignition" Remix will still cause me turn up the volume and nod my head, I will never hear it the same way again.

Cam Carey (8/16/07)