So I am horribly late on this…but I finally did get around to listening to The Demo- R.Kelly’s first and only official Mixtape CD. I haven’t led on to my CF readers too much, but I used to be a HUGE R. Kelly fan. Pure FANatic. I can’t say I am no longer a fan, just that R.Kelly hasn’t been the same. Ever since being acquitted, or even since being accused seriously of the charges of child molestation. Since the charges emerged in 2002, Kelly had been working at a fever pitch. He had managed to crank out a new CD of new material at least once every year or 18 months. He would appear on other artists’ tracks; having various production credits as well as songwriting credits. He would revive careers for artists like B2K, Ron Isley and Charlie Wilson. He would write and produce for seemingly every R&B artist out; Ciara, 112, Trey Songz, Joe – even Britney Spears. Jive Records was pushing out The Pied Piper’s albums as soon as Kelly could craft them. Then lambs fans like myself would scoop them up like it was his last great album before going Upstate. But the homie never went Upstate.
Then something else happened; 42-year old (as of 2009) Robert Kelly became 23-years old again. His 2007 album, Double Up was a hip-hop compilation album chock full of club anthems where Kelly would trade bars with artists like Chamillionaire & T.I over some bass-heavy beats. This would signal the beginning of the trend of R.Kelly reverting to a more hip-hop influenced style of R&B, much to the distaste of his fans.
Unfortunately, The Demo expands on this trend. Aside from a couple songs, most of the tracks are sloppy remixes of popular tracks and show Kelly being overtly sexual (in an uncomfortable way for listeners), cocky, ridiculous and worst of all, a copycat! It amazes me that this is the same artist who had crafted albums like The Chocolate Factory ( ), TP-2.com and R. Few of The Demo’s tracks showcase any of the creativity and overall quality of music we expect from Mr. Kelly.
Case in point: R.Kelly remixes Drake’s Best I Ever Had, where he speaks in a low voice spitting some foolish lyrics:
“I’mma wait up in my car
Soon as the club let out
I’mma walk right up to her
Tell her I wanna bang that out”
He even does a remix of TheDream’s Kelly’s 12Play, which I was excited to hear. Alas, another disappointment. It is difficult to hear R.Kelly emulate artists like T-Pain and TheDream when he is the one who has influenced them! Now he wants to copy them? When do you ever see Jay-Z tryin‘ to make a Soulja Boy record, or to make the next Stanky Legg? The advantage Industry veterans have in this game is the ability to be the Innovators, not the other way around.
I will mention, R.Kelly shines with the tracks, Club to the Bedroom and Disrespect My Shorty feat. Plies, where he warns other females he will not disrespect the woman he is with by flirting/canoodling with them. This is a welcome approach after songs like I’mma Flirt (from Double Up). Fans of 12play might also enjoy P.U.S.S.Y Cry (its exactly what you think it is about) and Banging the Headboard (again, yes its about sex). But I still remain under-impressed. Kelly needs to dig into the crates of his genius mind once again and come back Brand new if he wants to re-emerge on top once again. Because there are many others capable and willing to unsurp his R&B throne. Trey Songz is somewhere just preparing himself…
©The Choklit Factory 2009