- Chocolate Factory
Chocolate Factory Studio album by R. Kelly Released February 18, 2003 Recorded 2001–2003
Rockland Studios, CRC
Genre R&B, soul, hip hop, neo soul Length 76:26 Label Jive, Sony
Producer R. Kelly R. Kelly chronology TP-2.com
Happy People/U Saved Me
Singles from Chocolate Factory
Chocolate Factory is the fifth studio album by American R&B and soul musician R. Kelly, released February 18, 2003 on Jive Records. Recording sessions for the album took place mainly at Rockland Studios and Chicago Recording Company in Chicago, Illinois during 2001 to 2003. It was primarily written, arranged, and produced by R. Kelly. Chocolate Factory was conceived by Kelly amid controversy over his sex scandal at the time.
The album debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200 chart, selling over 532,000 copies in its first week. It achieved success in international markets and produced three singles that attained chart success, including US and UK hits "Snake" and "Step in the Name of Love", and international hit "Ignition (Remix)". Chocolate Factory was well-received by most music critics, receiving rave reviews from publications such as The New York Times and USA Today. The album has sold over three million copies worldwide and received sales certifications in the United States and the United Kingdom.
Recording sessions for the album took place during 2001 to 2003 primarily at Rockland Studios and Chicago Recording Company in Chicago, Illinois. Other recording locations included the Record Plant, in Los Angeles, California, Soup Can Music in Harper Woods, Michigan, and Vanguard Studios in Oak Park, Michigan. Chocolate Factory was written, arranged, and produced entirely by R. Kelly, with the exception of "Who's That", co-written by rapper Fat Joe. It was released February 18, 2003 on Jive Records, following a year of controversy for a now-infamous videotape alleged to show Kelly and an underage girl having sex.
Chocolate Factory debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200 chart, with first-week sales of over 532,000 copies in the United States. After the release of Kelly's hit single, "Ignition (Remix)", which peaked at number two on the Billboard Hot 100, the album eventually went on to sell over 2.72 million copies in the United States alone. Other hits released off of Chocolate Factory included "Snake" featuring Big Tigger, which peaked at #16, and the classic soul-inspired "stepper's anthem", "Step in the Name of Love", which peaked at #9. The album's packaging design is very similar to the design of Parliament's Chocolate City album. On May 19, 2003, it was certified double platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), for shipments in excess of two million copies in the United States. Chocolate Factory has also been certified gold by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) for shipments in excess of 100,000 copies in the United Kingdom. It has sold over three million copies worldwide.
Professional ratings Review scores Source Rating Allmusic  Chicago Tribune (mixed) Entertainment Weekly (B-) Los Angeles Times  The New York Times (favorable) Rolling Stone  Slant Magazine  USA Today  Vibe  The Village Voice (favorable)
Chocolate Factory received positive reviews from most music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 65, based on 10 reviews, which indicates "generally favorable reviews". The album received rave reviews from publications such as The New York Times, People, and USA Today, among others. Mojo gave it 4 out of 5 stars and wrote "Chocolate Factory seems positively inspired... An impressively varied opus", and BBC Online stated "[Kelly] doesn't sound like a man with the weight of the world on his shoulders, but a revived soul in spiritual euphoria." (4/03, pp. 173–4). Some reviewers, however, cited Kelly's controversial lyricisim as flaws in the album's songwriting. Despite complimenting its "sweet, almost classic-sounding hooks", Slant Magazine's Sal Cinquemani wrote that "Kelly's songwriting skills leave much to be desired; for every hook-driven "You Knock Me Out" there's a "Showdown," an asinine, interlude-filled insult to songwriters everywhere". In contrast, Sterling Clover of The Village Voice noted the album's "quantity and consistency of sonic presence" and praised Kelly's performance with respect to his songs' structures, stating "Kelly has sussed how to ground himself in tight rhythmic bass and a solid backup chorus, refiguring them into layered and discontinuous sheets of sound". Rolling Stone's Anthony DeCurtis cited Chocolate Factory as "among the best work of his career" and went on to write "... as a singer, songwriter and producer, he's at the top of his game."
Several critics scrutinized the album's sexually-explicit lyrics with respect to Kelly's controversial allegations of sexual misconduct at the time. Chicago Tribune writer Greg Kot viewed that "the subtext for this one makes it sound like musical spin control, a public-relations manifesto as much as an R&B album. [...] There are a few moments when the disconnect between Kelly's lyrics and his sordid legal troubles becomes disturbing, no more so than when he refers to himself as the 'pied piper of R&B' in 'Step in the Name of Love,' a reference to the fairy-tale figure who enticed a village full of children away from their parents". The A.V. Club's Nathan Rabin wrote that Chocolate Factory "is filled with the sort of come-ons and honeyed promises that even cut-rate dive-bar lotharios would dismiss as hopelessly cheesy, but Kelly stitches them together with such craft and invests them with such conviction that they become a strange sort of pulp poetry... [Kelly] matches his shamelessness with a gift for crafting melodies that burrow their way into listeners' subconscious with almost sadistic force". Dan Leroy of Yahoo! Music's elaborated on his sexually-explicit lyrics and their context, stating "Kelly’s hot-blooded horniness is an integral part of his persona; he can hardly back away from the risque R&B that’s made him what he is, despite the underage sex scandal that dogs him". On Kelly's performance, Leroy concluded by writing:In the end, though, it’s R’s musical genius that pulls his bare butt out of this fire. Channeling greats from Gaye to Wonder, his stripped-down bangers bang harder, his ballads have more gospel bluster, and he sings with the desperation of a loveman who knows the cops are waiting at his bedroom door.—Dan Leroy
In a restrospective review for Rolling Stone, Keith Harris gave the album 4 out of 5 stars and wrote of its significance to Kelly's recording career, stating "he'd apparently learned from Michael Jackson's publicity mistakes, because the new Kelly was less haunted, if no less horny. The hit 'Ignition (Remix)' was his warmest pick-up joint to date, and set the tone for the new record—and maybe a new stage in his career".
The album was included in Rolling Stone's 50 Best Albums of 2003. Chocolate Factory was ranked in several "End of Year" lists, including Blender magazine's 2003 Albums of the Year List at number 12 and The Village Voice's Pazz & Jop Critics' Poll at number 44. Three New York Times staff writers included it on their top ten lists for 2003. The album was nominated for the 2004 Grammy Award for Best Contemporary R&B Album, and "Step in the Name of Love" was nominated for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance. Rhapsody named it the second best R&B album of the first decade of the 21st century. Billboard magazine ranked Chocolate Factory at number 169 on its list of the Top 200 Albums of the Decade.
All songs were written, produced, and arranged by R. Kelly, except track 17, which was co-written by Fat Joe.
No. Title Length 1. "Chocolate Factory" 3:50 2. "Step in the Name of Love" 5:42 3. "Heart of a Woman" 4:31 4. "I'll Never Leave" 3:45 5. "Been Around the World" (feat. Ja Rule) 4:05 6. "You Made Me Love You" 4:34 7. "Forever" 4:06 8. "Dream Girl" 3:57 9. "Ignition" 3:16 10. "Ignition (Remix)" 3:06 11. "Forever More" 3:33 12. "You Knock Me Out" 4:10 13. "Step in The Name of Love (Remix)" 7:12 14. "Imagine That" 4:38 15. "Showdown" (feat. Ronald Isley) 7:54 16. "Snake" (feat. Big Tigger) 4:51 17. "Who's That" (feat. Fat Joe) 3:33
In special edition U.S. copies of Chocolate Factory, the seven-track EP Loveland was included as a bonus disc.
- Percy Bady – Keyboards
- Steve Bearsley – Assistant
- Glen Brown – Assistant
- Kara Buhl – Photo Production, Producer
- Greg Calvert – Assistant
- Joan Collaso – Choir, Chorus
- Joe Donatello – Engineer, Programming
- Rodney East – Keyboards
- David Feldman – Assistant
- Tony Flores – Assistant
- Yvonne Gage – Choir, Chorus
- Andy Gallas – Assistant, Engineer, Programming
- Abel Garibaldi – Engineer, Mixing, Programming
- Serban Ghenea – Mixing
- Hart Hollman & The Motown Romance Orchestra – Orchestra
- Brandon Hull – Assistant
- Dave Hyman – Assistant
- Kim Johnson – Vocals (Background)
- R. Kelly – Arranger, Mixing, Producer, Vocals
- Gregg Landfair – Guitar
- James Lee – Assistant
- Henry Love – Conga
- Donnie Lyle – Bass, Guitar, Keyboards, Mando
- Paul Mabin – Choir, Chorus
- Tony Maserati – Mixing
- Ian Mereness – Engineer, Mixing, Programming
- Jason Mlodzinski – Assistant
- Peter Mokran – Mixing
- Nick Monson – Assistant
- Jeffrey Morrow – Choir, Chorus
- Jackie Murphy – Art Direction, Design
- Kendall D. Nesbitt – Keyboards
- Juan Ortiz – Assistant
- Herb Powers – Mastering
- Reisig – Photography
- Paul Riser – Conductor, Horn Arrangements, Horn Conductor, Orchestration, String Arrangements, String Conductor
- Tim Roberts – Assistant
- Carl Robinson – Engineer, Horn Engineer, String Engineer
- Stevie Robinson – Choir, Chorus
- Johnny Rutledge – Choir, Chorus
- The Soul Children – Performer
- Deatta Staples – Vocals (Background)
- Jeff Vereb – Assistant
- Pamela Watson – Stylist
- Nathan Wheeler – Assistant Engineer
- Kyle White – Assistant
- Walt Whitman & the Soul Children – Performer
- Simbryt Whititngton – Choir, Chorus
Chart (2003) Peak
Canadian Albums Chart 14 Dutch Albums Chart 25 French Albums Chart 18 German Albums Chart 18 Swiss Albums Chart 24 UK Albums Chart 10 US Billboard 200 1 US Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums 1
Country Provider Certification United Kingdom BPI Gold United States RIAA 3x platinum
Chart precession and succession
Get Rich or Die Tryin' by 50 Cent
Billboard 200 number-one album
March 2, 2003 - March 8, 2003
Come Away With Me by Norah Jones
- List of number-one albums of 2003 (U.S.)
- List of number-one R&B albums of 2003 (U.S.)
- ^ a b c Track listing and credits as per liner notes for Chocolate Factory album
- ^ a b Henderson, Alex. Review: Chocolate Factory. Allmusic. Retrieved on 2009-08-05.
- ^ a b R Kelly timeline. Chicago Tribune. Retrieved on 2009-08-05.
- ^ http://www.billboard.com/artist/r-kelly/37015#/news/r-kelly-reloads-with-new-album-video-1000919972.story
- ^ a b Gold & Platinum - Searchable Database: Chocolate Factory. Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Retrieved on 2009-10-31.
- ^ a b "Certified Awards Search: R Kelly (albums)". BPI. http://www.bpi.co.uk/certifiedawards/search.aspx. Retrieved June 19, 2010.
- ^ Staff. R Kelly Biography. Contactmusic.com. Retrieved on 2010-10-31.
- ^ a b Kot, Greg (February 16, 2003). Review: Chocolate Factory. Chicago Tribune. Retrieved on 2010-10-31.
- ^ Sinclair, Tom. Review: Chocolate Factory. Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved on 2009-08-05.
- ^ a b Nichols, Natalie. Review: Chocolate Factory. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved on 2009-08-05.
- ^ Sanneh, Kelefa. Review: Chocolate Factory. The New York Times. Retrieved on 2009-08-05.
- ^ a b Harris, Keith. "Review: Chocolate Factory". Rolling Stone: 448. November 2, 2004.
- ^ a b c Cinquemani, Sal. Review: Chocolate Factory. Slant Magazine. Retrieved on 2009-08-05.
- ^ Jones, Steve. Review: Chocolate Factory. USA Today. Retrieved on 2009-08-05.
- ^ Murphy, Keith. "Review: Chocolate Factory". Vibe: 173–174. April 2003.
- ^ a b Clover, Sterling. Review: Chocolate Factory. The Village Voice. Retrieved on 2009-08-05.
- ^ a b c Chocolate Factory (2003): Reviews. Metacritic. Retrieved on 2009-08-05.
- ^ Columnist. "Chocolate Factory # 1". Business Wire: February 26, 2003.
- ^ a b Product Page: Chocolate Factory. Muze. Retrieved on 2010-10-31.
- ^ Review: Chocolate Factory. BBC Online. Retrieved on 2010-10-31.
- ^ DeCurtis, Anthony. Review: Chocolate Factory. Rolling Stone. Retrieved on 2009-08-05.
- ^ Rabin, Nathan. Review: Chocolate Factory. The A.V. Club. Retrieved on 2009-08-05.
- ^ a b Leroy, Dan. Review: Chocolate Factory. Yahoo! Music. Retrieved on 2009-08-05.
- ^ a b Acclaimed music: Chocolate Factory rankings
- ^ Rocklist.net: Village Voice 2003
- ^ Sanneh, Kelefa. The Albums and Songs of the Year. The New York Times. Retrieved on 2009-08-05.
- ^ Strauss, Neil. The Albums and Songs of the Year. The New York Times. Retrieved on 2009-08-05.
- ^ Ratliff, Ben. The Albums and Songs of the Year. The New York Times. Retrieved on 2009-08-05.
- ^ "Best R&B Albums of the Decade" Retrieved 12 January 2010.
- ^ "Best of the 2000s - Billboard 200 Albums". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media. http://www.billboard.com/#/charts-decade-end/billboard-200-albums?year=2009&begin=181&order=position. Retrieved December 16, 2009.
- ^ Credits: Chocolate Factory. Allmusic. Retrieved on 2010-10-30.
- ^ "Discografie R. Kelly". Dutchcharts.nl. http://dutchcharts.nl/showinterpret.asp?interpret=R.+Kelly. Retrieved June 20, 2010.
- ^ "Discographie R. Kelly" (in French). Lescharts.com. http://lescharts.com/showinterpret.asp?interpret=R.+Kelly. Retrieved June 20, 2010.
- ^ "Chartverfolgung / KELLY,R. / Longplay" (in German). Musicline.de. http://www.musicline.de/de/chartverfolgung_summary/artist/KELLY%2CR./?type=longplay. Retrieved June 20, 2010.
- ^ "Discographie R. Kelly" (in German). Hitparade.ch. http://hitparade.ch/showinterpret.asp?interpret=R.+Kelly. Retrieved June 20, 2010.
- ^ "R Kelly". ChartStats.com. http://www.chartstats.com/artistinfo.php?id=374. Retrieved June 19, 2010.
- ^ a b "R. Kelly > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums". allmusic. http://www.allmusic.com/artist/r-kelly-p45175/charts-awards. Retrieved October 31, 2010.
- Nathan Brackett, Christian Hoard (2004). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide: Completely Revised and Updated 4th Edition. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
- Chocolate Factory at Discogs
- Chocolate Factory at Metacritic
- Criminal (Critical) Accomplice: Writing About R. Kelly — By Mark Anthony Neal
R. Kelly Studio albums Collaboration albums Other albums Related articles
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