Ranking R. Kelly’s Albums Since the New Millennium


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51l9Oz9KgnLOn December 10th, R. Kelly will release what seems to be the return of ‘nasty’ R. Kelly with album Black Panties. Kelly is easily among R&B’s most preeminent artists.  Sure, his sales have falling off much like his contemporaries, but no one can deny the salacious singer/songwriter has a long and illustrious career.  This particular post won’t discuss Kelly’s earlier successes with tracks like “Bump and Grind” or his Grammy-winning track “I Believe I Can Fly”, but will instead focus on his post- new millennial success.   The early part of the millennium was kind to R. Kelly, much like it was to a number of neo-soul artists.  But as Nelly Furtado asks on her 2005 album Loose, “why do all good things come to an end?” 

Tie – 10th 

The Best of Both Worlds  & Unfinished Business (with Jay-Z)

51iNdLzQjAL._SL500_AA280_I was only actually privy to Unfinished Business (2004), which managed to debut at no. 1 on the Billboard Albums chart (215,000 copies) – don’t ask me how.  That said, I didn’t hear too many good things about R. Kelly and Jay-Z’s previous collaborative effort The Best of Both Worlds (2002), which landed at no. 2 with 223,000 copies sold itself.   I’ll only speak for Unfinished Business to be fair, but I’ll just tell you I thought it was an undercooked affair.  Sure there were some bearable moments – emphasis on ‘some’ – but ultimately, the album just felt second-rate for both musicians with such shimmering careers.  Balling these two were not…SMH.

Verdict: ★★

8th

TP.3 Reloaded

61ZPNN43a9LDon’t let the inclusion of “Trapped in the Closet” fool you folks – TP.3 Reloaded (2005) found R. Kelly doing what he does best pretty mediocrely.  Yeah, I was one of the 491,000 who purchased it when it came out, but looking back, its just not my favorite album by R. “In The Kitchen” adds a freaky bright spot, as do risqué sex-inciters like “Remote Control” or “Put My T-Shirt On”, but otherwise, Kells is a lil’ too freaky for his own good.  I mean for a man who seems to be able to make some incredibly outlandish references to S-E-X, TP.3 Reloaded just was so-so.

Verdict: ★★½ 

7th 

Write Me Back 

31ZLlW6JICLYou could lump Kelly’s Love Letter and Write Me Back albums as one in many respects.  Both are Kelly back in conservative, neo-soul mode as opposed to cutting edge, “let’s get down” mode.  Write Me Back isn’t a bad album, but it is pretty conservative.  There’s nothing wrong with singles like “Share My Love” or “Feelin’ Single” save for the fact they sound incredibly similar to Kells a la Chocolate Factory (that was 2003).  “Clipped Wings” is a nice moment, though Write Me Back could’ve used a few more like that to truly make it a signature R. Kelly showing.

Verdict: ★★★ 

6th 

Love Letter 

41mz6JK6oULLike the fine Write Me Back, my main issue lies with the conservative nature of Love Letter.  It’s not bad, but it may fall a shade short of Kelly’s more balanced albums, specifically Chocolate Factory, which manages to balance the freak and the soul.  “When A Woman Loves” is a nice addition to Kelly’s collection, though he milks it for every bit it’s worth.  “Love Letter” is smooth as silk while “Radio Message” appeals as well.  Still, I believe I speak for many R. Kelly fans in saying we remember his bedroom work more than his more refined, less risqué offerings.

Verdict: ★★★½

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Review: The Weeknd, ‘Kiss Land’


The Weeknd Sticks With the Formula With Less Notable Results The Weeknd⎪ Kiss Land ⎪ Republic⎪⎪ US Release Date: September 10, 2013 Alternative R&B generally is a fine outlet to keep the cooling genre of R&B alive. In a day and age where ‘neo-soul’ has fallen by the wayside and adult contemporary R&B can’t carry the torch alone, alt-R&B seems like the present answer to … Continue reading Review: The Weeknd, ‘Kiss Land’

Review: John Legend, ‘Love In The Future’


John Legend Makes Genuine Love Sound Both Respectable and Desirable on Love In The Future  John Legend⎪ Love In The Future ⎪ Columbia ⎪⎪ US Release Date: September 3, 2013 The gap between John Legend‘s solo albums has been a staggering five years! UGH! Sure, we haven’t been without those soulful pipes completely, but Evolver was the last ‘Legend’ album itself.  And arguably on that effort, … Continue reading Review: John Legend, ‘Love In The Future’

Review: TGT, ‘Three Kings’


TGT Deliver An Enjoyable, Sensually-Charged, Grown Folks R&B Album  TGT⎪Three Kings⎪Atlantic ⎪⎪ US Release Date: August 20, 2013 Had any one of Tyrese, Ginuwine, or Tank released a solo album this year by themself, that would’ve been a treat in itself.  Instead, the three sensual-minded lover men release their debut as TGT, bringing all their suave bedroom talk (and moves) together for the enjoyable Three … Continue reading Review: TGT, ‘Three Kings’