R. Kelly’s “Story” Is…Um…Lackluster


R. Kelly is truly one of a kind.  There’s really no other way to say it…I so serious about it!  ‘Kells’ R Kelly-ADB-029687has written plenty of memorable songs for himself and others.  What’s amazing about R. Kelly is that he oscillates between being conservative and being, well plain raunchy.  R. Kelly’s last two albums has found the sensual R&B singer/songwriter in refined, conservative mode.  Sure Love Letter and it’s follow-up Write Me Back had their respective moments (“Love Letter” and “Clipped Wings”) among the biggest triumphs respectively, but neither seemed like vintage R. Kelly.  Sure when Kells plays up his bad boy persona, he overdoes, but neither of his last too releases had enough edge… and I guess you can say simply it didn’t sport a parental advisory label.  But hey, “Ignition” was not talking about car keys, yet 2003 effort Chocolate Factory eschewed the parental advisory label.

So why all this blabbing about one of my favorite R&B artists? Kells released a new single at the end of July entitled “My Story” featuring 2 Chainz. OMG…just go on and shake your head people, I’m shaking mine.  First things first, the title should be taken literally, as R. Kelly does tell his story, from his own, idiosyncratic Kells perspective.  Kelly does acknowledge that he “came from humble beginnings…” only to continue on his excesses as a celebrity whether it’s money (“…now I’m cocky with my spending” ) or his ‘escapades’ with women since he’s R. Kelly (“Say she’s a church girl but man she’s blowing holy smokes / showed her the Jesus piece now she got the Holy ghost…”).  Can you say play on words?  Ultimately, even the addition of some profanity, R. Kelly sounds blasé.

And then there’s my friend 2 Chainz who sounds incredibly lackluster, even for him.  I mean I was onboard for “Birthday Song” even if it was corny and slightly annoyed, but okay with “I’m Different”.  But this is just a downgrade. I mean lyrics like “But if you ride with me, crib so big we can play hide- and-seek…”  or his knowledgeable (if dumb) allusions to Kelly’s discography (“Drop her ass at the Chocolate Factory we did them 12 plays”) just makes me cringe.  What kind of story is R. Kelly/2 Chainz going for, a big joke?

R Kelly-MSA-004444To make things worse, the production is merely average, even being in the contemporary vein where production is everything.  It’s good enough, but not much different from numerous rap or urban songs ultimately.  Furthermore, the gimmicky hook, intact with “eh’s” at the end of the word “story” is  both annoying and at this point nearly anachronistic… Rihanna was on “eh” back in 2007 with “Umbrella” – it’s now 2013! Don’t you know trends fade quickly R?

In my opinion, I believe that Kelly has more in him than this particular single.  After listening, I don’t really wish to join on the download wagon, but it also doesn’t sway a lifelong fan from buying the forthcoming album, whenever it materializes.  BUT, the concept of my story has been tired – for like a minute Kells. I’m just not up for this ‘soulacosta’ ride, or lack thereof.

Verdict: ✰✰½

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