Outside of the few clinging onto their South Park boxsets exclaiming pee jokes at the mere mention of the R&B legend, R. Kelly’s been excused of his crimes mostly due to the excellence of his back catalogue. If you look beyond his bizarre ‘hip-hopera’ Trapped in the Closet, it’s not hard to see why he was so greatly revered. Unfortunately, the singer’s twelfth studio album, ‘Black Panties’, threatens to completely nullify his previous output.
With song titles like ‘Marry the Pussy’ and ‘Crazy Sex’, the lyrical content of ‘Black Panties’ isn’t particularly surprising. It isn’t typical R&B affair; mostly because it feels turbo-charged with its sexuality, possibly thanks to an overdose of Spanish fly. Whatever’s got the 46 -year-old so riled up, is what we have to thank for what is 2013’s most uncomfortable album. It’s so dumb that it’s great, but at the same time it’s bordering on horrible. With lines like “then I beat the pussy ’til it’s blue”, it’s unintentionally hilarious, and far from the baby-making music he’s known for.
The production is at the very least, decent. Ranging from interesting takes on modern R&B to trap infused abominations, ‘Black Panties’ is about as messy as his bed is implied to be. It’s incredibly aggressive in how sexual it is, coming close to threateningly so at points. It’s hard to believe this is the same guy who gave us ‘I Believe I can Fly’. At the very least, ‘Black Panties’ offers up a few laughs, however dead inside they’ll leave you feeling.
Words by Joe Price