- R. Kelly
Infobox Musical artist
Name = R. Kelly
Img_capt = R. Kelly performing during his "Light It Up Tour".
Background = solo_singer
Birth_name = Robert Sylvester Kelly
Alias = Kells, The King Of R&B, The Pied Piper
Born = birth date and age|1967|1|8
Hip-Hop Pop Rap New Jack Swing Soul Gospel Dance-Poprap
Neosoul, pop rap
Singer, songwriter, record producer
Years_active = 1989–1993 (groups)
T-Pain, Aaliyah, Twista, Syleena Johnson
Label = Jive
URL = [http://www.r-kelly.com www.r-kelly.com]
Robert Sylvester Kelly (born
January 8, 1967) better known by his stage nameR. Kelly, is an American R&B and pop singer-songwriter, occasional rapperand record producer. Debuting in 1992 with the group Public Announcement, Kelly left the group within a year for a successful solo career starting with the album, " 12 Play" (1993). Since then, Kelly has been known for a collection of hit singles including " Bump N' Grind", " I Believe I Can Fly", "Ignition" and the urban hip-hopera" Trapped in the Closet".
June 6, 2002, Kelly was indicted on 21 counts of having sexual intercourse with a minor. These were later reduced to soliciting a minor for child pornography, for which he was acquitted on June 13, 2008. [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/06/13/AR2008061300651.html R. Kelly Acquitted in Child-Porn Video Case] ]
Born and raised in
Chicago, Illinois, Kelly was into music at an early age. Around the time of his graduation, Kelly began performing in street corners and in bus stations as a keyboard performer before he eventually formed a group with his friend Marc McWilliams. In 1989, Kelly and McWilliams formed the group MGM, who released their first single "Why You Wanna Play Me" on Tone-Deaf Records.
Shortly afterwards, the group changed their name to
Public Announcementand after being discovered by executives for Jive Recordsin 1991, signed a deal with the label and put out their debut album, " Born Into the '90s" in January 1992. One of the last albums to be released during the new jack swingperiod of the early nineties, the album yielded the hits "She's Got That Vibe", " Honey Love" and "Dedicated", all of which was led by Kelly. The group was billed as "R. Kelly and Public Announcement" essentially making the group backup members for Kelly rather than in a cohesive unit. After a successful tour ended in 1993, Kelly left Public Announcement to focus on a solo career.
Early solo career
In 1993, Kelly's debut solo album, "
12 Play", was released in the fall of that year and yielded the singer's first number-one hit, " Bump N' Grind" and subsequent hit singles such as "Your Body's Callin'" and "Sex Me". Shortly after the release of "12 Play", Kelly began outside work as a record producerintroducing urban audiences to young female singers such as Aaliyahand the duo Changing Faces. In 1994, he also produced a remix for Janet Jackson's 1994 hit, " Any Time, Any Place" and worked on " You Are Not Alone" for Michael Jacksonfor his 1995 album, " HIStory". It was later determined by a Belgiumright society called SABAM, that Kelly had plagiarized the melody for "You Are Not Alone" from the song's original 1993 composition by veteran songwriters-producers and publishers Eddy and Danny Van Passel. Kelly's solo success continued with the release of his second solo album, "R. Kelly", popular for the singles " You Remind Me of Something" and "I Can't Sleep (Baby If I)". A duet with Ronald Isleyof The Isley Brotherscreated a hit with "Down Low", partially due to the music video of the song which introduced fans to Isley's "Mr. Biggs" character.
In 1996, Kelly released one of his most successful singles with "
I Believe I Can Fly", originally released on the " Space Jam" soundtrack. The single, which came up after the movie's star Michael Jordanasked Kelly to compose a song for the soundtrack, was composed while Kelly was on a tour with The Notorious B.I.G."I Believe I Can Fly" reached No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100, and No. 1 on the UK pop charts. The single was a huge worldwide success and remains Kelly's signature song. Rolling StoneMagazine [ [http://www.rollingstone.com/news/coverstory/500songs/page/5 The RS 500 Greatest Songs of All Time : Rolling Stone ] ] named it as the 408th of its top 500 songs of all time. Building on the hype of "Fly", Kelly released a double albumsimply titled " R." That album would become Kelly's biggest-selling album to date selling over eight million copies according to the RIAAand Soundscanand yielded the popular singles, " I'm Your Angel" (featuring Celine Dion) and "When a Woman's Fed Up". In between and afterwards, Kelly found some success with movie themes such as "Gotham City" from "Batman & Robin", "Bad Man" from "Shaft" and "The World's Greatest" from "Ali". In 2000, Kelly released " TP-2.com", which yielded the hits "I Wish" and the remix to "Fiesta", which included a collaboration with Jay-Z. Because of the success of that song and another Kelly/Jay-Z collaboration, "Guilty 'Til Proven Innocent", from Jay-Z's "Dynasty" album, it was announced in early 2002 that the duo collaborated on a joint album and tour titled "The Best of Both Worlds". Due to controversy surrounding Kelly at the time, there was little promotion with the album when it was finally released and Kelly instead refocused his attention on his solo work as both a recording artist and producer.
During late 2001 and early 2002, Kelly began working on the follow up to his album
TP-2.comentitled "Loveland". The album was scheduled to be released in November 2002, but like "Best of Both Worlds" before it, heavy bootlegging led to it being delayed. The singer then retooled the whole album titled the " Chocolate Factory" did feature several of the bootlegged tracks - and many have cropped up elsewhere, as seen below. it also came as a six track bonus disc with the initial pressings of "Chocolate Factory" (Bootlegged tracks are listed in this footnote [Tracks possibly intended for "Loveland", which appeared on the bootlegged version include:
#"Spirit" (appeared on "
Happy People/U Saved Me")
#"All I" (unreleased, but sampled by
Mannie Freshon his 2004 track "Lady, Lady")
#"Leap of Faith" (appeared on "
Happy People/U Saved Me")
#"Make Me" (appeared on "
Chocolate Factory" under the title "You Knock Me Out")
operainfluenced version of " I Believe I Can Fly" as used on the TP-2 Tour)
#"The World's Greatest" (was already released on the "Ali" OST)
#"(Step) In The Name Of Love" (appeared on "
Chocolate Factory" in both original mix and remix versions, which was a No. 1 R&B hit)
#"Love For Me" (renamed "Far More" and was available on the bonus "Loveland" CD with the first pressings of "
#"Somethings Never Change" (unreleased, a very 1970s
Stevie Wonder-like track)
#"Forever And Ever" (appeared on "
Chocolate Factory" under the name "Forever")
#"You Bring Me Joy" (unreleased, a soulful bedroom ballad)
#"Make You My Baby" (track given to Joe, appeared on his 2003 album "
#"Come to Daddy" (originally part of the "BOBW" tracklisting, unknown if this would have been on "Loveland")
#"Kiss You In Those Places" (unreleased, appeared on original "" tracklisting, but not final album)
#"More and More" (track given to Joe, was a single, and appeared on his 2003 album "
And Then...")] ).
"Chocolate Factory" became a runaway success for Kelly, selling over three million copies due to the success of singles such as "
Ignition", "Snake" and "Step in the Name of Love". Capitalizing on the success of the latter track, in 2004 Kelly released the ambitious two-disc set, " Happy People/U Saved Me", with the former side covering the same basis and sound from "Step..." while focusing on inspirationalmaterial on the latter. That same year, Kelly performed the Star-Spangled Bannerduring the introduction of the world championship boxing fight between Bernard Hopkinsand Jermain Taylor. His performance, which included a line of dancers doing the "stepping" routine and a pre-recorded instrumental track set to the sound of "Happy People", was met with a mixed reaction. In October of 2004, Kelly reunited with Jay-Z to do a follow-up to their "Best of Both Worlds" album shortly after announcing a tour to coincide with the project after the duo performed together during Jay-Z's "farewell" concert at Madison Square Gardena year before. The duo's " Unfinished Business" album was released and peaked at number-one on the Billboard chart.
"Trapped in the Closet"
In June 2005, Kelly released his next album, "TP-3: Reloaded", which unlike Kelly's previous albums, didn't yield a successful pop hit, the most successful being a five-part "mini-opera" titled "
Trapped in the Closet". "Closet", which, according to the singer, was inspired by " Desperate Housewives", became an immediate hit when released as a single. After initial buzz from the first five chapters of the song, Kelly went on to produce up to twenty-two chapters of the "saga". All chapters have since been released to DVD. While other singles from "Reloaded", including "Sex in the Kitchen" and "Playas Only", failed to ignite similar success, Kelly began to capitalize more and more on "Trapped in the Closet", introducing a so-called sixth chapter in a six-minute-long lip-synced performance at the MTV Video Music Awards, which was arguably one of the best lip syncing performances of R.Kelly's career. ] . Kelly's performance also produced mixed reviews. "Closet" became a pop-culture sensation with several sketch comedy shows such as " Saturday Night Live" and " MADtv" making their own spoofs of Kelly's song. Its most famous parody, however, is arguably from the " South Park" episode of the same name in which a caricature of Kelly is shown interpolating the song changing the lyrics to reflect on the confusion surrounding why Tom Cruiseand John Travoltawere locked in Stan's closet. In 2007, Kelly released a DVD of his "Mr. Show Biz Presents: The Light It Up Tour" show, which had ended in Atlanta after a six-month tour on Mother's Day of 2006.
"Double Up" included the hit single "I'm a Flirt (Remix)", featuring T.I. and T-Pain. The original track entitled "I'm a Flirt", also produced and co-written by R. Kelly, appeared as a hidden track on
Bow Wow's " The Price of Fame" (2006). However, Kelly never gave the rights for the song to be released as a formal single, although it was played by many radio stations before the remix version. Thus, Kelly's first single from 'Double Up' was "I'm a Flirt (Remix)." Bow Wow was not featured on this version of the song. In Kelly's video for "I'm a Flirt (Remix)", he encourages fans to call a number which flashes up quickly on the screen. Fans who called the number were greeted by a recording of Kelly talking about his upcoming album and playing snippets of new songs in the studio. "I'm a Flirt (Remix)" was successful for Kelly after the failure of his previous album, "TP-3: Reloaded". The song peaked at number 12 on the Billboard Hot 100. It also reached number one on the Billboard Hot Rap Tracks.R Kelly is also set to release a hit with new English rapper Martin Rattigan.This was confirmed by both partys on September 16th 2008 and will feature on Rattigan's upcoming album Stickup. The only other hit on the album, " Same Girl", was a duet between Kelly and Usher. The single peaked at number 20 on the Hot 100 and peaked at number four on the R&B chart. Other singles, however, such as "Rock Star" - featuring Ludacrisand Kid Rock, "Sex Planet" and "Freaky in the Club" were only modest R&B charters. The latter two were not officially released as singles, neither was the title track featuring Snoop Dogg.
Kelly's other single from "Double Up" titled "Rise Up" was a tribute to the victims of the
Virginia Tech massacre. The song was officially released as a digital download May 15, 2007. Proceeds were donated to the Hokie Spirit Memorial Fund, a fund that helped family members of the victims of the shootings. [cite news |last=Lamb |first=Bill |url=http://top40.about.com/b/a/209075.htm |title=R. Kelly Records "Rise Up" - An Anthem for Healing in Aftermath of Virginia Tech Shootings |publisher=About.com |date=2007-05-04 |accessdate=2007-05-09] In 2008, "Billboard" reported that Kelly plans to release his newest album titled "" this summer. The album's current single, " Hair Braider", is currently No. 56 on Billboard's R&B chart.
Robert Sylvester Kelly was born on
January 8, 1967in Chicago, Illinois. Raised in Chicago's Southside projects, Kelly was the third of four children, born to his mother Joann Kelly, including two brothers Bruce and Carey and a sister, Theresa. Raised in a single-parent household, Kelly told reporters later that he was shot by a muggerat thirteen though his mother said that the story was an attempt to cover an attempted suicidehttp://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/kelly/940633,kellytimeline.article R. Kelly timeline: A chronology from birth to trial] . Afterwards, Kelly turned to playing basketballand musicto escape the harsh surroundings of his upbringing. Kelly's mother died after a long bout with cancer in 1993.
Marriages and children
In 1994, Kelly reportedly married his first wife, his protégé, R&B singer
Aaliyah, whom he had known since she was 12 and had been spending three years to work on her debut, " Age Ain't Nothing But A Number". According to " VIBE" magazine, a marriage document was printed showcasing the marriage certificate and noted that Aaliyah had lied about being eighteen when in truth she was only fifteen. The marriage was reportedly annulled soon afterward and neither singer confirmed the marriage rumors, dismissing them as lies. In 1996, Kelly married Andrea Lee, a dancer from his tour. Together the couple have three children, including two daughters and a son. According to Andrea, later in the marriage Kelly became abusive toward her. At one time she considered filing a restraining order against Kelly but recanted the decision. According to sources, the couple are said to be in the midst of a divorce. [cite web |url=http://www.eonline.com/News/Items/0,1,17466,00.html |title=R. Kelly's Marital Woes |last=Grossberg |first=Josh |date= September 28, 2005|work= E!|archiveurl=http://web.archive.org/web/20060420161814/http://www.eonline.com/News/Items/0,1,17466,00.html |archivedate= 2006-04-20] .
Legal cases, lawsuits, and controversies
Lawsuits filed by alleged victims
Other than his reported illegal marriage to fifteen-year-old Aaliyah, allegations of Kelly's sexual activity with underage girls go as far back as 1991, when several women claimed to have had sex with him [http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/kelly/939951,kellya.article Kelly accused of sex with teenage girls, Chicago Sun Times, December 21, 2000] . In 1994, rumors surfaced that Kelly had married fellow singer Alex Shipton, which both singers had denied. Two other sex suits by underage girls were settled and he denied any relationship with either of them, stating that the settlement was strictly to protect his emerging career. Another woman sued him claiming that he seduced her at age 16, got her pregnant, and forced her to get an abortion [http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/kelly/939996,kellyd.article R. Kelly: Inspirational singer or perverted swinger, Chicago Sun Times, June 9, 2002] .
The tape scandal and child pornography charges
None of the prior reports reached the level of publicity that followed the release of a video tape in February 2002 that allegedly showed Kelly and a 14-year-old daughter of an associate, and niece of Sparkle, a former Kelly protégée, engaging in sex.cite news|title=Controversial R. Kelly Sex Case Finally Goes To Trial| date =
2006-10-12| url=http://www.sohh.com/articles/article.php/9979|publisher=4Control Media|accessdate=2007-02-21] The tape, released by an unknown source, was sent to the " Chicago Sun-Times", the newspaper that broke the story. While some witnesses have identified the alleged victim, the girl and her parents and other witnesses have denied that she is the person shown on the tape. Kelly has also denied that he is the man in the video. [cite news|title=R. Kelly: In His Own Words|date = May 2002 |url=http://www.mtv.com/bands/r/r_kelly/news_feature_051302/index2.jhtml|publisher=MTV|accessdate=2007-02-18]
Bootleg copies of that tape became widely available on the
black marketand over file sharingnetworks. The tape was alleged to show numerous sex acts, including the girl being urinated on, even making a music video about it. In June 2002, Kelly was indicted in Chicago for 21 counts of having sex with a minor, which were later reduced to soliciting a minor for child pornography, seven counts of videotaping the acts, and seven counts of producing child pornography. These charges came after viewing the tapes showed that there was no actual sexual intercourse involved.
It took more than six years for the case to go to trial. Jury selection began on
May 9, 2008, and the trial officially started on May 20with opening statements from the prosecution and defense. After two weeks, the prosecution's case wrapped on June 3while the defense's wrapped six days later, on June 9. After less than a day of deliberations, on June 13, 2008 a Chicago jury found R. Kelly not guilty of all 14 counts of videotaping himself having sex with an underage girl. [ [http://www.eonline.com/uberblog/b142765_kelly_found_not_guilty.html?utm_campaign=dft&utm_source=slfmmz&utm_medium=lnk R. Kelly Found Not Guilty! "E! Online"] ]
In addition to the charges in Illinois, Kelly was being considered for further charges in
Polk County, Floridaon January 23, 2003on 12 counts of possession of child pornography when authorities alleged to have found a digital camera containing 12 pictures of an underage female with three of them showing Kelly and her engaged in intercourse. These claims were never proven, and the charges were dropped after the search that led to them was ruled illegal.
In 2004, allegations emerged that among Kelly's tapes was one including gospel singer
Deleon Richards, the wife of Detroit Tigersbaseball player Gary Sheffield. There have been several other lawsuits against Kelly. [cite web |url=http://www.eonline.com/News/Items/0,1,10054,00.html |title=R. Kelly Rung Up on Porn Charges |last=Grossberg |first=Josh |date= June 5, 2002|work= E!|archiveurl=http://web.archive.org/web/20060504062029/http://www.eonline.com/News/Items/0,1,10054,00.html |archivedate= 2006-05-04] A dancer sued for invasion of privacy because tapes of her private acts with him were circulated, alleging that he allowed distribution of copies without her consent. The dancer later alleged that the taping was without her consent and was not properly protected.
After a number of delays, on
October 27, 2006a Cook County, Illinoiscourt hearing for pre-trial motions set the date of the actual trial to February 7, 2007. [cite news|title=Update: R. Kelly Hearing Postponed|date=Oct. 13, 2006|url= http://www.sohh.com/articles/article.php/9994| publisher=4Control Media|accessdate=2007-02-21] On the date of the trial Kelly's lawyer informed the court that his client was unable to attend because he was "undergoing surgery for a burst appendix." He also announced that Kelly was "in good condition and was expected to be released from the hospital later in the day." His attorney stated that Kelly (who pled not guilty) would be in attendance on the next trial date of February 21, 2007. [cite news|title=R. Kelly Misses Court After Surgery|url=http://www.showbuzz.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/02/08/people_hot_water/main2451763.shtml | date = 2007-02-08| publisher=The Associated Press|accessdate=2007-02-21] It had previously been announced by the court that the videotape that allegedly shows Kelly performing sex acts with an underage girl will be publicly shown as evidence in the trial.
The trial, however, was delayed due to disputes over when the tape was made and to give medical recuperation time to the sitting judge following a fall resulting in broken bones. Later the case was set for a
September 17date. [ [http://www.cnn.com/2007/SHOWBIZ/Music/08/02/pornography.rkelly.reut/index.html?eref=rss_topstories R. Kelly to be tried on child pornography charges - CNN.com ] ]
Lawsuits by former associates
October 4, 2006former employee Henry "Love" Vaughn (who claims to have been a “mentor and guide” to Kelly since he was a teenager) has filed a lawsuit against Kelly accusing him of assault, false imprisonment, and a breach of contract that defrauded him of songwriting royalties. Vaughn claims Kelly and his associates dragged him to the basement of Kelly’s Olympia Fields home on February 19, 2006and Kelly “repeatedly struck him about the face and body with his fists." Vaughn also claims he gave Kelly the “concept” for the song “Steppin”. Kelly’s spokesman declared that Vaughn is merely trying to extort money and told reporters that a police investigation found no evidence to Vaughn’s assault allegations. Olympia Fields police confirmed that they had investigated the matter but would not comment beyond saying “we didn’t file any charges in the case.” [cite news|title=R. Kelly Accused of Assault & Stealing Songwriting Royalties|date= 2006-10-05|author=Jolene Petipas|url= http://www.sohh.com/articles/article.php/9928|accessdate=2007-02-21]
Kelly has made questionable statements to the press in recent years. In 2003, he compared his legal troubles to
Osama Bin Ladenin an interview with "Blender" saying to the magazine, "Bin Laden is the only one who knows exactly what I'm going through". In the spring 2007 edition of XXL's "Hip-Hop Soul" magazine, while promoting his new album and one week before his latest court date, Kelly compared himself to Muhammad Ali, Marvin Gaye, Bob Marleyand Martin Luther King, Jr:
"I'm the Ali of today. I'm the Marvin Gaye of today. I'm the Bob Marley of today. I'm the Martin Luther King, or all the other greats that have come before us. And a lot of people are starting to realize that now."
An R. Kelly spokesman suggested that the quote was taken out of context.
In late 2004, Kelly and Jay-Z went out on the "Unfinished Business" tour but the tour was plagued by a rivalry between the two stars and Kelly reportedly showing up late or not at all to gigs. The singer, according to Jay-Z, often complained that the touring lights weren't directed towards him and often left during the middle of sets. Another night during the concert, Kelly stayed on his tour bus for two hours before finally coming out to perform an uninspired set. Jay-Z eventually removed R. Kelly halfway through the tour, after a member of Jay-Z's entourage attacked R. Kelly with Mace or
pepper spray. On April 25, 2006, it was confirmed that Jay-Z's younger cousin, Tyran (Ty-Ty) Smith confessed in a Manhattan Criminal Court to pepper-spraying R. Kelly and four of his bodyguards at Madison Square Garden in October 2004. Smith had been charged with assault, but was allowed to plead guilty to disorderly conduct for four days of community service. After the original incident, Jay-Z made Smith an executive of Def Jam Records. A Kelly rep said that Kelly's $16 million lawsuit against Jay-Z and Smith is close to a settlement. Kelly also launched a $75 million lawsuit against Jay-Z for removing him from the tour, which received a countersuit by Jay-Z which was thrown out by the judge.HeRockIn 2007, Kelly began his "Double Up" tour with Ne-Yo, Keyshia Coleand J. Holidayopening for him. Midway through the tour, Kelly kicked Ne-Yo off the tour because, reportedly, of paperwork problems; however Ne-Yo alleges that the reason for the dropout was because audience members were cheering more for the younger Ne-Yo than for Kelly, who was the headliner. Stunned by the drop, Ne-Yo filed a lawsuit against Kelly in which the singer counter-sued. Kelly's "Double Up" tour was plagued by more problems, when in December of 2007, Kelly was admonished by the judge for not showing up to another preliminary court hearing on his case. The singer was threatened by the judge that he'll revoke Kelly's bond but the judge eventually decided not to though it didn't stop Kelly from being reprimanded. In 2008, Kelly released a rap track titled "I'm a Beast" in which he coarsely attacked his "haters". Many figured the song attacked either Ne-Yo, Fat Joeor Young Jeezythough Kelly himself never made it apparent who the song was directed to.
Born into the '90s" (with Public Announcement)
*2002: "The Best of Both Worlds" (with
Unfinished Business" (with Jay-Z)
The R. in R&B Collection, Vol. 1"
Remix City Vol. 1"
Trapped in the Closet(1-12)"
*2007: "Trapped in the Closet (13-22)"
*"Best R&B Song" ("I Believe I Can Fly")
*"Best R&B Male Vocal Performance" ("I Believe I Can Fly")
*"Best Original Song from A Soundtrack" ("I Believe I Can Fly")
*"(all were won in 1997)"
Honorific titles in popular music
* [http://www.r-kelly.com/ Official Site]
* [http://www.artistdirect.com/nad/music/artist/card/0,,452404,00.html/ R. Kelly's ARTISTdirect Page]
*imdb name|id=0005084|name=R. Kelly
* [http://www.urbanlyrics.com/r/rkelly.html R. Kelly Lyrics]
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