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,
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.
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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