R. Kelly has had quite the resurgence over the past few years. Having rebounded from one controversy to the next – from child pornography allegations and assault charges to a near career ending surgery – he’s positioned himself to make a historical comeback. His surprise appearance at Coachella and a headlining set at Pitchfork fanned the embers even harder, and this isn’t even equating the continued success of Trapped in the Closet. It seems like no matter what obstacle is in his way, he’s ready to overcome.
So what better way to trump the controversy than to shout over the top of it all with a raunchy parody of his life aptly entitled Black Panties. What else can be said when promotions fall somewhere between actual panties and an R. Kelly hotline. Of course he’s looking to shock the world. He’s in the twilight of his career, so he wants to leave a lasting legacy – one final chapter before the spotlight fades for good.
But at 46 the sleazy metaphors and the tired analogies are too much, the lyrical motifs running thick with desperation. He’s hiding within a burlesque, and it lacks the craftsmanship to go beyond mere dick measuring. It takes R&B and reduces it to a singular, one dimensional genre – perpetuating the hypersexualized black male stereotype even further. Rhythm and blues is about love and sex. This is an album about the love of sex, and nothing else.
All that’s left to do is laugh, just like he wants us to because at his core R. Kelly is nothing more than a tired stooge who’s ready to finally close the book on the sordid minstrel show he calls a career.
Already known as a good-for-nothing trickster, Pennywise takes yet another stab at being this generation’s Casanova. But after all the hullabaloo he still can’t bring himself to say he loves her. Instead he opts to trail off as he engages in one of probably an infinite number of revolting acts:
As if defiling youngsters wasn’t enough, R&B’s most salacious crooner stomps innocence even further into the ground by hijacking one of America’s most favorite cookies. Granted Oreos are made of garbage and spare parts, but it’s the crass delivery that speaks to a man of coarse and unrefined taste:
Unless you’re a barnyard stripper or a bum with no can of beans to call your own getting money thrown at you is degrading. But for Mr. Moneybags it’s anything but. In fact he doesn’t even need to know your name, just be an unscrupulous nobody who’s willing to grab their ankles at a moment’s notice:
As a con artist of love you can only play the charade for so long before your true colors are revealed. Kelly’s backwards promises are delivered with a forked tongue and malicious intent, and with it comes the venom of consequence – a bite that could very well include gallons of urine and excrement:
In the future when more astute audiophiles come excavating the remains of R&B hopefully they’ll find this one, so it’ll explain exactly why the genre vanished. The joke extends too long and putters hopelessly to the end. Besides, being up to your neck in pussy is not nearly as good as it sounds:
A mild pace with just the right amount of decay, gets this ill jam off to a good start. But what begins well quickly turns into another redundant declaration of bedroom mastery. It masquerades as a parody, but once again misses the mark by shamelessly, almost proudly playing to stereotypes: [LISTEN]
The saving grace manifests in the form of Kelly Rowland, it’s just unfortunate that it has to be mired in deception and backstabbing. Passion is the beast, and although the content gets slightly cracky at times it’s still enough a jewel to allow the lust to wash over you with little to no regret:
R&B’s self-proclaimed king behaves more like a delusional minstrel on this overblown rags to riches story. It wasn’t the smoothest upbringing for Kelly, but he wasn’t exactly living on cabbage water like Charlie Bucket either. Still, the superlatives fly, and thus the credibility continues to wane:
Yet another shameful display of writing from the living, breathing antithesis of R&B. Granted the history of the “n” word is complicated, but to use it 77 times is insane and ridiculous if not downright offensive. The strange lullaby beat only dampens what at its heart is actually a positive message:
Preordained to be blasted at noxious levels in greasy clubs all across the nation, this misogynistic grenade is enough to keep NOW busy for at least another decade. It’s tactless, garish, and flagrant in the way it holds women. He’s simply putting harmony to it hoping that the offenses will slide:
Ironically the least crazy song in this deck full of jokers. He makes every effort to keep the crab-happy orgy alive, yet it seems to be going soft as the album comes to a close. The saving grace is that he doesn’t get into specific detail. He must be leaving that angle to Dave Chapelle:
The precursor to the madness, his signature song before the script was ever written. It prophesies an arrival for the ages, but instead of striking like a bolt of lightening from the R&B heavens, it perpetuates barbarism and myth – proof that there are false prophets lurking on every corner: [LISTEN]