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Performer: R. Kelly
Artist: The Notorious B.I.G.; Mr. Lee; Ronald Isley; Ernie Isley; Kirk Franklin
Distributor: Sony BMG
Notes: Personnel: R. Kelly (vocals, various instruments); Ronald Isley (vocals); The Notorious B.I.G. (rap vocals); Ray Bady (various instruments, background vocals); Mr. Lee, Mario Winans (various instruments, programming); Jim Slattery (various instruments); Ernie Isley (guitar); Lafayette Carthon (keyboards, background vocals); Peter Mokran, Stephen George (programming); Strings, Alfonzo Walker, Charlotte Horton, Eleanor "Tinkey" Hampton, Kimmie MacFarland, Ronda V., Pepe Epting (background vocals); Kirk Franklin. Engineers: Peter Mokran, Stephen George. R. was nominated for the 2000 Grammy Award for Best R&B Album. "When A Woman's Fed Up" was nominated for the 2000 Grammy Award for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance. R. Kelly starts this disc off with a straight-up gospel sermon, and his vocal style is well-suited to it. He learned his craft in church, and he gives praise to God on the disc's liner notes. Of course, the second song is called "Hump Bounce," so that also tells you where this popular, strong-voiced soul singer is coming from. Kelly sings about different aspects of love, sex, and relationships, with a style that owes much to those who came before him--Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson, and a host of others who refined and perfected the art of expression through vocalization. His formula is simple: take a slow or mid-tempo modern R&B structure, add a healthy dose of gospel-inflected vocal runs, up and and down the scale, and Presto!--another hit. Kelly's material is almost all of the slow-groove style. This is music to make out to, plain and simple, and Kelly is good at what he does. On "Not Gonna Hold On," Kelly and producer Barry Hankerson create a truly hypnotic jam, one that gives the singer room to flex his impressive vocal chops. The arrangement is spare, with just a steady drum tap, and a synthesized keyboard flowing like rainwater behind the background vocal track. Kelly knows how to create a mood, and he does it over and over again.
Rolling Stone (5/13/99, p.74) - Included in Rolling Stone's "Essential Recordings of the 90's." Rolling Stone (1/25/96, p.72) - 3 Stars - Good - "...Kelly's third Jive effort indicates that he has the range of an R&B great. It's also the album on which R. and Robert merge offering a look at the man behind the libido..." Entertainment Weekly (11/24/95, p.104) - "...There are times when Kelly confuses sincerity with dolorousness, but for the most part, he's pulled it off: an album that moves him into a new realm of pop ambitiousness." - Rating: A- Q (2/96, p.96) - 4 Stars - Excellent - "...frank yet seductive cooing about humpin' and boucnin'..." Vibe (12/95-1/96, pp.137-138) - "...reshapes his personal turmoil to artistic benefit. He opens and closes the album with dramatic testimonials....if the spark of testimony is confession, Kelly shows that testimony can be genius when it is defiant....the heart of Kelly's vision...beats in the love he has found in religious faith..."
If you're looking for the perfect music to cap a romantic evening or, for that matter, get one started, slow-jam master R. Kelly might just do the trick. Whether he's turning out heart-on-sleeve love ballads (the R. Kelly-penned Michael Jackson 1995 hit "You Are Not Alone"), gorgeous spiritually oriented compositions ("I Believe I Can Fly"), down-and-dirty R&B jams (2001's "Feelin' on Yo Booty"), or multi-part ghetto-narrative "hip-hoperas" (the infamous "Trapped in the Closet" single, which as of summer 2006 had 12 chapters), Kels really does have all the bases covered.
Also Appears On:
B., Jon (R&B) Babyface Bell Biv DeVoe Blackstreet Blige, Mary J. Boyz II Men Brandy Braxton, Toni Brownstone Campbell, Tevin Carey, Mariah Changing Faces Color Me Badd D'Angelo Dorsey, Marc Dru Hill En Vogue Evans, Faith Ginuwine Guy Hall, Aaron Howard, Adina K-Ci & JoJo Lopez, Jennifer MC D.R.S. Monifah Next Rich, Tony Riley, Teddy SWV Silk ('90s R&B) Sweat, Keith TLC Usher Williams, Vanessa (R&B) Xscape
Brown, Bobby (R&B) Gaye, Marvin Houston, Whitney Isley Brothers (The) Jackson, Michael James, Rick (Bass) Pendergrass, Teddy Prince Richie, Lionel Robinson, Smokey Vandross, Luther Washington, Keith White, Barry Wonder, Stevie
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