Say what you will about R. Kelly, but he’s one of the legends in music. Not just of this generation or of the 90s, but of music fame. With his 12th solo album, Black Panties R. Kelly revisits the music stylings that set him apart early in his career. The album is fun, it’s sexy, it’s raunchy and it’s certainly explicit… But isn’t that all of what you’ve always loved about R. Kelly anyway?!
The project has received a lot of comparisons to the Twelve Play album, which I don’t think is fair considering there is a TP brand and if that’s what Kelz was going for, he would’ve just titled this TP 4. Black Panties stands on its own, but from the title, the albums singles and the very first song on the album, it’s clear you’re in for Kelz return to the freakier side of R & B. “Legs Shakin’,” which finds Kelly and Ludacris reunited on a track is once again. Oral is a common theme on this album with several variations on the art of cunnilingus including that of the track “Cookie,” which comes in at track two.
This is surely no Love Letter or Write Me Back, the last two albums released by R. Kelly, which were opportunities to delve into types of music from eras past. Kelz has returned to original form. The features are back on Black Panties as is the Hip-Hop influence on several tracks. Some of the better tracks on the album are the ones that help find the balance between the nasty and the streets. “My Story” and “Right Back” are a great juxtaposition in the middle of the deluxe version of the album.
R. Kelly also brings out the best of Kelly Rowland on the project, as he has done for several R & B artists in his career. Ms. Rowland brings a different side of her on their duet, “All The Way.” The album also features the song, “Shut Up,” which was originally released in 2011 following R. Kelly’s tonsil surgery. That’s when the Black Panties album was originally announced, though it took some years for it to come to fruition. “Shut Up” is the last track on the regular version of the CD.
This is one of the few albums released this year where the bonus tracks on the deluxe version really impress (just: Kelly Rowland & J. Cole). Three of the four tracks are absolutely necessary. The other, featuring Migos and Juicy J is more of a Kelly gift for the rappers than anything else, reminiscent to what he’s done on his past albums for artists such as Huey (remember him?), Chamillionaire, O.J. da Juiceman, and the dudes on the original version of “Fiesta” (I don’t remember either…)
You won’t have too many complaints with Black Panties. Unless of course you have something against sex, in which case you shouldn’t be listening to Black Panties R. Kelly anyway!
Black Panties R. Kelly receives a PARL
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