Album Review: R. Kelly, Black Panties

R. Kelly

Black Panties (to be released December 10, 2013)

You can tell a lot about an album by looking at its cover.

Go look at the deluxe edition cover of R. Kelly’s 12 studio album. Kellz is covered up by dozens of women. Faceless, half-naked objects. It’s like an avalanche of brainless zombie strippers from World War Z.

It would be offensive if it wasn’t so ridiculously stupid. And that’s pretty much Arruh’s latest album in a slutty nutshell.

Before you start typing up those emails accusing me of Kelly slander, chill. I love R. Kelly. Sometimes.

There’s no question that he’s an R&B legend who can effortlessly swing from gospel-tinged hits like “I Believe I Can Fly” to the oversexed anthems that dominated the charts in the 90s.

Even when some of Kelly’s more maligned hits like “I’m A Flirt” and “You Remind Me Of Something” teetered on the edge of immaturity, his songwriting prowess and outright charisma could win over critics.

But not here on Black Draws, where nearly everything is dumbed down to the point of absurdity.

Don’t believe me?

“Marry the P***y” sounds like something written by a fatherless 10-year-old who just learned his first cuss word, not a nearly 50-year-old man. Of course, this is the same man who claims to be a “cookie monster” and “lick the middle like an Oreo” on “Cookies.” The songwriting is straight out of a fifth-grade lunchroom.

Kelly should be ashamed for stooping so low to drop trash like “My Story,” four minutes of repetitive boredom that’s 99 percent hook with nothing else between. Seriously, can YOU recite anything from this song but “and I’m sticking to it/aye/and I’m sticking to it?’ It’s the usual unimaginative tricks that “singers” like T-Pain and Future have resorted to; a Grammy winning veteran should know better.

The hustle anthem “Right Back” at least tries to do something different but it just winds up forgettable, just like “All The Way,” Kellz’s drowsy duet with Kellz Rowland. “You Deserve Better” is even worse, with Kelly spitting ridiculous pimp promises, telling his women she can make “shopping (her) career” IN AUTOTUNE. It’s almost 2014, and y’all still trying to sing like Starscream? Stop it, 5.

As loathsome as this album can be at times, Kelly does succeed once with “Legs Shakin’.” Yes, the lyrics are laughable (“touch you with my taser tongue”) but it expertly rides on Michael Jackson’s “Lady In My Life” and sounds like a legitimate, cohesive song that wasn’t slapped together in the car on the way home from the club. It’s the only song that recreates the vibe of Kelly’s landmark 12 Play album.

Black Panties is mostly smoke and mirrors, the equivalent of ordering dinner in a strip club. You’re so concerned with gettin’ turnt up and being hypnotized by booty that you won’t notice how terrible the nourishment is till you’re sick the next morning.

But I guess that’s what you get for eating dinner in a strip club.

Black Panties ain’t sexy. I can’t even criticize it for being sleazy. It’s just straight-up lazy.

2 Chainz said it best on “My Story”: “Your conversation is sanitation.” Sorry, Kellz.

R. Kelly needs to do better. He CAN do better. That’s what’s so sad.

Best tracks: “Legs Shakin’.” Run far away from everything else.

1.5 stars out of 5


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