R. KELLY: 12.10.13 – The Return of the R-ruh. Panties: Black.


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Black Panties?! What in the h.e double hockey-stick does R. Kelly have to write about some black panties for? He knows dang-on well the last thing he should be considering is putting music out having anything remotely close to the grit, grime, and roots of RnB with any sexual overtones, or lyrics” …is what I said in my mind over the past couple of months that I had been seeing him post that song’s title all down his timeline.

Yeah, I was one-just like you, who-in my mind-felt that R. Kelly…dare I say the King of R&B? Rest in peace Whitney, I agree that Bobby was too (then) …but then there was the R-rah, R. Kelly: “The King of R&B. And he could not be denied.

r-kelly-147519He was on top of his game [with songs well over sexual overtones and lyrics], but with titles like: “Bump and Grind,” “Feelin’ on Your Booty” and songs with metaphorical lyrical content substituting what he likes to do with a woman’s body by making that woman a vehicle–riding all through his smash hit: “You Remind Me of My Jeep.”

R. Kelly was more than a talented and gifted singer and songwriter, he was “RnB”…go on and give it a new name: ROBERT and BLUES.

Nobody else in RnB could make blatantly sexual songs with beats that made your body do things before your mind could catch up–but at the same time, he could make RnB songs about romance and falling in love and intertwine your mind in the romantic moment with lyrics like: “It’s unbelievable how your body’s calling for me. Shhhhhhhhhhh….I can just hear it calling, calling for me.”

You couldn’t help but turn your head to the side when he literally made the sound: “Shhhhh”…and as the melody and lyrics picked back up, something came over your body that if you were all alone—made you want call somebody else’s body. It was possessive. It was just THAT good.

He was the sh!t.

 

He could make a man feel the plight of a woman like no other with lyrics in RnB like nobody else could. He won us over when he belted out those words in: “When a Woman’s Fed Up:” “You can cry river ‘til an ocean starts to form. But she will always remember, because she’s a woman scorned. And if you ever get her back. It will never be the same. She’s cutting the corners of her eyes, every time she hears your name. Now your trust is out the door. She don’t want you no more. You used to tell your boys, not me
And she would always be there for you. If you had took the time to see, what that woman meant to you…Is what the mirror said to me.”

I mean, as woman, you couldn’t help but slap your leg and yell out: “Tell that! Tell that Kells!” He was speaking for us. That song had the heart, soul, plight and experience of women all over the world. And when he orchestrated the beat that lead to that very part in the song you just knew something like the truth was on its way to you.

R. Kelly was beastly.

I remember being young and in like (with R. Kelly having me thinking it was love) especially when my boyfriend at the time would love to pop in his remix of…oh, I forgot to mention: R. Kelly had a knack for remixing a song like it was supposed to be remixed.

It was like taking an original song and turning it inside out like a pair of jeans: The original was still in there, but the melody, the hook, and the lyrics were like the inside of those jeans turned inside out and he could rock you and turn your party out!

Well, when he remixed “Bump and Grind,” you couldn’t tell my boyfriend (or me) that R. Kelly wasn’t a fly on our romantic wall when he crooned “it’s the pretty brown-brown driving me wild.” My boyfriend could have sworn that it was me and my “pretty brown-brown” skin that inspired R.Kelly to remix those lyrics (just for him to sing to me-his way). After a while, my name wasn’t even Angela to him anymore, it was just: “Hey Pretty Brown-Brown”  …and I would answer to it.

R. Kelly was in our love life, our sex lives, our heads, and our imaginations with lyrics that seemed to come from some dude in Chicago’s imagination that had imagery unheard of-but somehow, he knew how to make it all fit in combination of sexual, romantic oddly blatant lyrics in songs like “Half on a Baby.” If you were in love then, that song was your song to make love to, cuddle, or slow dance to. It was just like that with R. Kelly.

If you didn’t know (now), now you know. R. Kelly just WAS music. He needed to be next in line with a symbol to symbolize his un-need for a name with letters. He just needed his own symbol, too.

I could go on and on, but I’ll stop there…………just like his awesome career came to a complete halt—after [what was once rumored to be allegations] of his having inappropriate relations with an underage girl (proved true)in the form of a sex tape (and a couple of women of age as well). That thing made its way around many-a-hood bootleg tables and we all bought it just as quick as we bought every single CD he ever dropped and was on—we all saw it……and lowered our heads like a moment of silence was called through a bullhorn of the RnB listening community. All we could say was: “Damn.”

[Older adults who were R. Kelly fans especially] didn’t seem to care anymore that his music was much apart of our lives in the 90’ straight through the early to mid-2000’s.

All that seemed to matter (that further solidified peoples judgment of him) was his past spontaneous transgression with another underage RnB diva, combined with the fact that the type of music he was known and loved for-seemed to plague people’s judgment of him almost immediately. He didn’t have a side, “we all saw the tape and had listened to side A and B of plenty of yours-so we know this man on this tape is definitely you, sir”…no matter how many riddles and rhymes he ran around Ed Gordon in the interview we had all sat at the edge of our seats anticipating to see.

No one seemed to care anymore that alongside the type of RnB he was know for, he had also made classic old-folks kind of RnB—for them to step with a song called: “Step in the Name of Love.”

No one seemed to care anymore that he also made RnB with positive vibes that also made your spirit feel good with songs like: “Happy People” and “I Believe I Can Fly.”

No one cared anymore that alongside the RnB with sexual overtones like only he could make, he also made love songs like “Fortunate” (sang by Maxwell) that had nothing to do with sex but rather: hard core desire, pure, love and thankfulness to have somebody to love-not fu(k, or to sex (or ride like a Jeep).

No one seemed to care that outside of his type of music, he made hits for divas and gents who too, weren’t exactly no slouches in the game–like Michael Jackson, Celine Dion, Janet Jackson and the list goes on.

No one seemed to care that outside of his type of music, he made hits for divas and gents who too, weren’t exactly no slouches in the game–like Michael Jackson, Celine Dion, Janet Jackson and the list goes on.

…………….His versatility and genius mattered no more. And he sorta…slid.

R4Sure, while sliding he still made music, but he made music that was so R&B safe that some of it seemed almost “BigBand”-ish with a bang of Sam Cook-ish.

He was belting ‘em out slowly-but damned sure as he himself was sort of: “damned.” He just couldn’t seem to put anything out that made people feel the same way they did about him before. R_Kelly_Dita_Kingston_Optical_GlassesIt was almost as if he was putting out music for the next seven years to “test the waters”—to see if he could be embraced for doing another kind of music that wasn’t too far from R&B but at the same time, something someone who liked Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson (or even Celine Dion) could sit and listen to.R_ANDceline_and_r_kelly

While he lay low, other R&B cats started rising and taking over his sex symbol music style and status.

No-they weren’t as great as him to a point where they, like him, should have had a music symbol as a moniker; but their whole RnB sex symbol music and styles were straight out of the pages of the R. Kelly manual called: “How to Woo the Ladies and be the Envy of Many Men And Stay on Top Doing So.”

It was uncanny.

One young cat (who went by the name of Trey Songz) R_TRYEeven started sounding just like R. Kelly. I mean, you couldn’t hear one Trey Songz record on the radio without sitting in your car screaming and clapping your hands on “The R. Kelly Comeback.” By end song, the DJ would break up your hopeful wavelength by a thousand decibels-announcing the song you just heard was indeed some cat named “Trey Songz” and these songs (and hits) you keep hearing were not R. Kelly-sorry. It seemed like an interruption for an important message from the Emergency Broadcast System.

Trey Songz and his people were smart. Any male singer in RnB who could cut himself from the R. Kelly template and read from the manual would have been a fool not to. He was laying low and playing it safe–and somebody had to do it: win his fans while making new ones. And Trey Songz did it-and as best he could and he did.

R. Kelly wasn’t done though (playing it safe-that is).R6In early 2013, he put the curator stick down on his BigBand sound and got “fly” and sexy-like again. He then put out a song that (although it had a good RnB feel); it was still way too safe. I knew even as hot a song it was, it was going to fall by the wayside like all his other attempts of trying to find his way back into the game like last left [an impact].

After that, I said: “Eff R. Kelly man. He keeps trying to inch out and play it too safe. I can’t keep supporting his music (not because it’s not good) but knowing he’s scared but want to break out again. It’s just scared RnB to me” …in comparison to his own brand stamp of R&B that still can never be duplicated (or imitated)…

The one day he posted on his social media timeline a title to a new song calledBlack Panties. Almost immediately I-an R. Kelly fan-said: What in the h.e double hockey-stick does R. Kelly have to write about some black panties for? He knows dang-on well the last thing he should be considering is putting music out having anything remotely close to the grit, grime, and roots of RnB with any sexual overtones, or lyrics.

R5 I know I wasn’t the only one who thought that thought-because we all remember [“what had happened”]…the oxymoron of it all was, some other part of me was tired of him “playing it too safe.”

But still, I watched him for a while.

I watched him hook up with Lady Gaga on a song reminiscent of the type of music that only R. Kelly could put his stamp on.

I watched him.

r-kelly-lady-gaga-snl It was something kismet about his hooking up with Gaga that sparked something in him and boy did I wish I could be a fly on the wall of that moment-whatever conversation they had, or the fly on his wall at home when the thought or inspiration hit him while he jumped up into the air, fist balled tightly and screamed: “Yes!”

I watched him.

And something magical happened.

That album cover for “Black Panties” dropped.BlackPantiesAlbumArt1

That’s when I perked up, and the dots began to connect.

That’s when I couldn’t deny understanding the vision and what was about to go down here-he was rebelling like Miley coming in on a wrecking ball.

I don’t have to rehash the story-we all remember…We all know what happened (and not “allegedly” too).

We saw it all.  r2

But the fact of the matter is, in order to face your fears, especially when your fear is of people who made you feel fear (for whatever alleged or true reason); you have to be bold-very. You have to be in their faces with whatever it is [you did or didn’t do] that caused your fear.

When you strike the shepherd, the sheep will scatter. In his case, the shepherd and the sheep have all been one in the same: Everybody. So in everybody’s faces he dropped an album cover whose album artwork spoke volumes: Masked and in character of his self moniker “The Pied Piper” r3PIEDwith what looks to be a very young/underage woman sitting on his lap in a juvenile (versus a sexual/adult position) whose face we could not see. Instead, her face is buried in his neck while he holds the stick of the violin as if she is the violin he is playing: “She” representative of his music, and his life-strumming what was once his pain, now being held in his lap and fingers–all up in our faces, boldly.BlackPantiesAlbumArt1

I must say, I was impressed with his boldness after all this time. That was the only way he was going to be able to break out of his shell. Sometimes you have to turn your “fear mirror” to the people-that’s the only way you can quiet them for long enough to dust yourself off and try again. 

I understood his pain and his shame-for years.

But despite the vibration of my writings and work that reach high thousands; I never felt the need to speak about it until I saw that album cover. Luckily I saw that front side first, because the back of it hit me as merely BlackPantiesAlbumArt“ classic R. Kelly with all the ladies.”

It was the front cover that reached me because I felt it was necessary to hit the people with because (being/having been the underdog and observing the same) I know what it’s like for the world and its people to kick and hit you-and what a world can do to your spirit (if you let them). And for a long while-he let them. I could tell he was feeling scared (to break out). But having

DIRECTORSCUT………stay tuned.