R Kelly has had an amazing story; a tough upbringing involved child abuse, homelessness and the loss of loved ones. Breaking through in the early 90s with timeless hits such as She’s Got That Vibe, R Kelly rose to prominence as one of the most legendary artists of all time, becoming universally demanded not just as a vocalist but as a producer and a writer for other artists. After solely producing and writing Aaliyah’s debut album Age Ain’t Nothing But a Number, R Kelly allegedly married the late iconic R&B singer, somewhat illegally, as she was still a minor. Since then he has batted away multiple sex offences and placed sex as the core content of every album, signifying that sex is truly embedded in the essence that is R Kelly.
And so it is not surprising that Black Panties is a sexually charged album. In Marry the Pussy, Kellz uses the word ‘pussy’ over fifty times (difficult to keep count) singing ‘Pussy talk to me, Pussy sing to me, So much joy it bring to me, I love pussy and pussy love me… I just wanna marry the pussy’. If there’s one thing you can take from this track, it’s that Kellz does enjoy the female specimen.
Unlike his last two albums, this project is current, and it's a must-listen. This is an artist who has worked with the likes of Wyclef Jean and Celine Dion and released a collaborative album with Jay Z, and so it is not a surprise that there is an impressive list of featured artists on the album. Black Panties features Ludacris, 2Chainz, Kelly Rowland, Migos, Juicy J and Future. Stand-out tracks include Cookie, where R Kelly ruins the ‘Oreo’ for everyone forever, Show Ya Pussy, which depicts today’s ‘ignorant rap’ scene perfectly, and Tear It Up where Kellz and Future breathe a new life into the auto-tune, creating a deeply soothing sex-influenced sound, where the two artists bounce off each other brilliantly.
Another important track to mention is My Story, featuring 2Chainz, where Kellz explores his autobiographical SoulaCoaster in his lyrics. He sings ‘Yeah I’m from that Chi-town dirt, I went from being broke to sleeping in Versace shirts.’ It seems however, that the deep tale of his poor beginnings is juxtaposed with more sexual filth that includes a reference to Django, where Kellz is a slave owner and the pussy is his slave, and a somewhat blasphemous Trinitarian metaphor relating his manhood to the Holy Spirit.
The album’s eleventh track Spend That features Jeezy, and although perhaps not one of the stronger songs on the album, it definitely contains one of the album’s most entertaining lyrics. Kellz half-raps ‘Three bitches, One me, And they all on the dick, Call it 3-D.’ Amazing.
In the suitably titled track Shut Up, R Kelly reverts back to a Trapped in the Closet-type flow and opens his heart, talking deeply to his haters about various rumours and his throat surgery. Later in the song he acknowledges the prevalence of sex in his music throughout his career as he sings ‘No offense to the other artists but let’s be honest, how many babies have been made off me? OMG… Every child around the world from the 90s up until today was made off me’.
Black Panties is out December 10th and tallies up a 7.5/10 from AboutToBlow. You can stream the album in it's entirety below.