Hello readers,

Thank you for joining me again as we cap our tribute to Black music month.

In this post we will explore R. Kelly’s influence on classic Soul/R&B.

When R Kelly exploded on the music scene in the early 1990’s he was a bona fide player of the New Jack Swing set dominated by Teddy Riley.

Kelly and his former band mates Public Announcement found moderate success with their hit Vibe from the moderately successful Born Into the 90’s album.

Enter 12 Play….

Mega hits Your Body’s Callin and Bump N Grind are Marvin Gaye meets the bad boys of New Jack.

Kelly extends Marvin’s sexual indulgences on these cuts.

Whereas Marvin on Let’s Get it On and I Want You offers titillating glimpses into his sexual fantasies, R Kelly on 12 Play, TP-2.Com and TP3 Reloaded takes listeners a little further to the gratifying acts of sexual fulfillment.


Honestly readers as the 90’s progressed I can’t think of any Black male R&B singer whose creative output was as prolific as R. Kelly.

In addition to his productivity was his range.

By range I mean Kelly has the skills to mix it up.

I Believe I Can Fly….

Years after its initial recording, I still get goose bumps when I hear this song.

No kidding. I feel 10 feet tall and that I possess the strength of character to accomplish any task that I set my mind to!!!

Perhaps the most fascinating aspect of Kelly’s varied career is his generosity and unique ability to remix and revive.

For Example: Janet Jackson’s Anytime, Anyplace.

I love the theme of sexual liberation on this cut.

I always felt that this song could be the anthem for introverts who have a strong inner freak dying to be released!!!!!

Skirt around my waist, face against the wall….

A la the love maestro Barry White.


Perhaps the most stunning revival in R&B Music besides Marvin Gaye’s Sexual Healing comeback was the strong resurgence of Ronald Isley-the original king of cool.

I always knew of the fantastic Islay brothers and love their romantic hits such as whose That Lady?, Voyage to Atlantis, and Living For The Love of You.


Kelly’s teaming with Ronald on the Down low as well as the remix was phenomenal.

This pairing only goes to show the longevity and timelessness of R&B-especially in the romantic department.

It is debatable in some segments that Ronald Isley never fell off of the music radar.

Be that as it may, because of the R, fans and critics alike can agree that Ronald is a relevant figure in contemporary R&B.

The infamous Mr. Big character has taken on a life of its own.

Ronald can ride the waves of R&B success for years to come on the strength of this creation alone.

The King of Pop…..

On numerous occasions R. Kelly has waxed elegantly and poetically about his love and admiration for Michael Jackson.

You Are Not Alone is Kelly’s respect, love and influence come to life.

This mega hit debuted at number one on the charts where it occupied the top spot for an insane amount of time!!!!!

Again as with Ronald, it can be argued by some that Michael certainly never fell off of the musical radar.

(It is definitely argued by me).

However, compared to Thriller sales, it would appear that Michael experienced some career setbacks.



Post Thriller– Michael still sold albums in the millions to sellout concerts around the world.

Enter R. Kelly….

Readers, as you may well remember, Michael and his career was still reeling from the unsubstantiated charges of sexual misconduct.

After the success of Michael and Kelly’s collaboration, the naysayers as well as loyal and lukewarm fans alike seemed to agree that Michael still had the staying power after all.

Why do I contend that R Kelly is the savior of R&B?

First I want to clarify that R&B was never in any danger.

I want to enumerate on a point I made earlier in the post about other male R&B singers.

There was Will Downing, Keith Washington, Freddie Jackson and Johnny Gil.

Though talented as these brothers may be, they fail to chart a strong and lasting presence on the R&B scene.

Imagine contemporary R&B without R. Kelly.

Yeah we may have the young bloods such as Usher, Chris Brown, and Avant.

And they are a truly bunch of talented brothers.

But still…..

When we examine the pantheons of Soul/R&B and come up with Marvin Gaye, AL Green, Barry White, Teddy Pendergrass, the above singers seem to lack something.

R Kelly is a direct descendant of the ilk of these Soul legends.

Although a few out there may contribute Kelly’s longevity to his ability to adapt to the hip hop scene (Kelly once declared himself an R&B thug) I beg to differ.

In my estimation his coupling with rap and hip hop gave it that classic Soul flavor and did a lot to rescue the genre from being relegated to a one dimensional dinosaur.

It appears as if the R has no plans of slowing down anytime soon.

Of course when I think of R&B there’s Marvin and then there is R Kelly.

Long live the king!!!!

That concludes this tribute to Black music even though it was extended way past June-Black music month.

Thanks again readers for joining me on this journey.

Until next time…..