The tropical lagoon in R.Kelly’s home must secretly be a fountain of youth. Monday night (August 17th) the 42-year-old R&B star invited a handful of journalists and friends to hear his up-coming CD, Untitled for the very first time. Dressed in a navy blue linen shirt, jeans and white sneakers he stood on his living room table and declared happily that he’d been “doing his homework. I wouldn’t have ya’ll up in my house if I hadn’t been.”
What exactly constitutes “homework” at the R. Kelly Summer School?
“I had a party in my house every week for three weeks. Had about 200 girls and 5 guys,” he joked. “I can’t go to the club anymore because there are too many people with cameras and cell phones. So I just have the party here and I’d test the music out on them.”
After making sure all of his guests were holding a cup of his custom cocktail “Sex in The Kitchen” he proposed a toast, “May the best of our past be the worst of our future” and pressed play.
From the onset the Autotune flavored tracks like “Crazy Night” and “Outta The Game” threatened to send artists like The Dream and Jeremih back to the drawing board. But the undisputed crowd pleasers were “Exit” and “Echo.” With its chants of “Sex in the morning, sex all day” prepare to hear a lot of yodeling in the clubs this fall.
Noticeably missing from the up-tempo collection were the certified “baby-maker” slow jams that have become his calling card. But Kelly says his fans have no reason to be concerned.
“I got three kids off my own shit,” he says of the seductive 12-Play. “My next album is going to be called Zodiac. How many signs are in the Zodiac? 12. So it will be the new 12-Play.
Getting into a boxers stance he continued.
“Ali set you up with a jab before the right cross,” he said with a swing. “And this is one hell of a jab.”
The night was capped with a tour of his studio where his hits like “I Believe I Can Fly” and “Sex Me” were conceived. He told the tightly packed crowd that he’d recorded five songs for Michael Jackson before the icon died and badly wants to record with Stevie Wonder. Sitting at a keyboard he also confessed to a bit of narcissism when asked why he keeps a full-length mirror by his microphone.
“I get my swag up that way,” he said with a grin. “I don’t see Robert in that mirror, I see Kells.”
Robert will be giving his listeners plenty of opportunity to check out “Kells” when he kicks of the intimate “Ladies Make Some Noise” tour to coincide with the Untitled release on October 13th.