R.Kelly never really struck us as one to hold back. With 10 studio albums (most recently last week’s warmly received Untitled), a 22 chapter hip-hopera, and more sexcapades than we care to count, he’s taken us from the bedroom to the courtroom, from the basketball court to the barber shop, and from depths of the jungles to the far reaches of outer space. It’s hard to imagine that he has left much territory uncovered, and with his patented style of real talk, no less.
And yet, yesterday’s announcement of a memoir has us on the edge of our seats once more. To be released sometime in 2011, and co-written by David Ritz (who’s worked with Ray Charles, Smokey Robinson, and Aretha Franklin in the past), the book will detail the loss of his mother and his lengthy legal battle against child pornography charges, as well as offer insight on his consistent and consistently creative musical impulses.
“I am writing this book as Robert, not R.Kelly,” he announces in a press release, “I’m tired of being misunderstood. I will show you the tears, fears and sweat. I will open my heart and reveal the good in my life as well as all the drama.” Real talk, for sure, this can’t be anything but interesting.
For an artist of such impressive consistency, Kells has continued to attract attention throughout his near two decade career. His sexed up, slow grinding style hasn’t really changed a whole lot between 1993’s “Bump and Grind” and this year’s “Pregnant” — and that isn’t a bad thing. A living icon, he’s safely earned his self-anointed King of R&B title, carving a place for himself in musical history with his slow-grinding R&B, and opening the door for a line of successful proteges (Usher and The-Dream, most obviously). His bold speak-croon lyricism and unusual lifestyle choices (his eye for design, being a more, uh, innocent one) however, seem to have kept things fresh and kept us listening.
What surprises might this latest creative endeavor hold? One can really only imagine. Perhaps he could comment on Tiger Woods’ latest fiasco, lend a word of more experienced wisdom. A six-degrees of separation type web could be fun, as might a running count of panties he’s received on stage. And for interested parties, it could be helpful to know what kind of qualities a girl might need to end his lifetime of adolescent-like bachelorhood — you know, just in case.
Basically, there is no way this memoir will be less than (with all that Kells-esque hyperbolic charm) the greatest.