R. Kelly, the legend behind feel-good, defiant hits such as Ignition Remix and Bump 'N' Grind, is resurging. He was part of countless festivals this past summer, drawing thousands together in free-spirited appreciation of his suave R&B crooning. It is hard to deny the power of R. Kelly; there is something truly magical about belting the chorus of Ignition Remix with thousands of others. I experienced it at Bonnaroo; suddenly there was a communal sense of sweet mischief and lighthearted fun when R. Kelly sang those legendary songs.
Our generation was not old enough to experience R. Kelly in his prime, when he was the new, fresh R&B on the table. Rather, we are experiencing somewhat of a has-been making a comeback, but instead of everyone patronizing him and casting him off as some old guy who used to be good back in the day, he has maintained a timeless appeal. Something about Ignition Remix is simultaneously nostalgic and modern, which keeps us fascinated.
Though it has no Ignition, Bump 'N' Grind or I Believe I Can Fly, Black Panties is not a failure. It doesn't stray too far from the R. Kelly norm, nor does he try to modernize it with inauthentic production. He is sticking to his tried-and-true ways, adapting as much as needed to stay in the game. He attracts younger audiences by collaborating with newbie 2 Chainz in My Story. My Story is ideal for the radio and is the catchiest and the most mainstream accessible track on the album.
R. Kelly is known for his explicit lyrics about certain womanly body parts, and it is that characteristic of his music that everyone learns to love, because no one can make music about anatomy like he does. Just because R. Kelly is 46 years old and still singing songs such as Marry the P**** doesn't mean he is settling down, rather the very opposite. It confirms Black Panties is just another outlet for the same good ol' R. Kelly.
HANNAH ELLIOTT Robinson High