R. Kelly


(Copyright © 1999 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )

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Multi-instrumentalist Robert "R" Kelly became one of the biggest rhythm'n'blues stars of the 1990s with three colossal hit albums: 12 Play (1993), with Bump n' Grind, which was perhaps the last major album of new jack swing, R Kelly (1995), followed by the mega-hit I Believe I Can Fly (1996), and the ambitious double album R (1998), where he converted to the classic soul music of Marvin Gaye and Sam Cooke. TP-2.com (2000) was marketed as the sequel to 12 Play Chocolate Factory (2003) contains one of his most famous singles, Ignition.

The double-disc album Happy People/ U Saved Me (2004) is another self-indulgent effort that is not fully justified by the quality of the compositions. Inspiration was again mediocre on Double Up (2007).

In the meantime Kelly had premiered his campy, cartoonish television soap hip-hopera Trapped In The Closet. The first episodes were broadcast in 2005. More episodes surfaced in 2007.

The lewd Untitled (2009) recycled material from the unreleased album 12 Play: Fourth Quarter (2008).

Love Letter (2010) was a collection of old-fashioned love ballads, and Write Me Back (2011) was influenced by that sound.

Hard to believe, but Black Panties (2013) and The Buffet (2015) were even worse than his already terrible standard.

In 2019 Kelly was arrested for sexual abuse after a TV channel had aired a six-part documentary about the many women who accused him. It was not his first arrest: like too many celebrities who can afford to hire great attorneys, he had been acquitted a decade earlier after being accused of child pornography following the discovery in 2002 of a video of his intercourse with an underage girl and of child-pornographic material at his residence. He defended himself from all accusations in the 19-minute rant I Admit (2018).

The fact that such a pathetic singer sold 30 million albums (by 2019) said a lot about the power of marketing.

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(Copyright © 2003 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )
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