By Frankie Decaiza Hutchinson | R. Kelly has sung the same song over 100 times. The simplicity of his reality is what’s so appealing. He wants to have sex and spend a lot of money. He pretends to sing about other things…but he’s not. He’s singing about sex and money. And only money in the context of getting sex. He tries to pretend he’s interested in other things like having children or love or empowerment, but it’s not that convincing when these messages are drowning in a sea of, well, manly sauce . Let’s take a closer look at some of Kells’ ridiculous lyrics and the masterfulness of his ability to get away with them.
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( Ed note: We should probably point out that Frankie is a female writer in case any of you are wondering.)
1. “I like the crotch on you.”
SONG/ALBUM: “I Like the Crotch on You” – 12 Play
Robert Sylvester Kelly is not one to mince words. The man speaks his mind. And when the man speaks his mind, he speaks it clearly. And clearly, in this case, he “likes the crotch on you.” We know this because it is the title of the song. He feels compelled to speak upon it, which compels me to listen to it and to write about it. And any opportunity to bring it up thus should be taken advantage of. Robert Sylvester Kelly. You got me. I like how you think.
2. “Put on some clothes and lets go to the IHOP, baby/ No matter how good the food may taste/ I'm still thinking about your body baby, yes I am.”
SONG/ALBUM: “Etcetera” — R
Clearly, this is absurd, I’ve been to IHOP at least a few times. OK, I’ve been there a lot. And if anything, or in this case, anyone, can actually distract a restaurant patron — even one as intensely invested in their reasonably priced 24-hour breakfast specials (such as the “Rooty Tooty Fresh and Fruity”) as Kells clearly implies — then that pussy must be made of applewood-smoked bacon. As such, I find the claim impossible and stands here as Exhibit B as to why his R. Kelly’s voice can get away with anything.
(On a completely unrelated yet no less similar feat of musical accomplishment, may I also point out the jubilation that is the song title. The song is called “Etcetera,” which gives us a rare experience of seeing that word spelled out completely, as opposed to the more pedestrian – and therefor lackluster – abbreviated “etc.” Bravo, Kells. Bravo.)
3. “Then she cries out/'Oh my goodness, I'm about to climax'/And I said, 'Cool climax/Just let go of my leg.'”
SONG: “Trapped in the Closet (Chapter Four)”
Hemingway who? As a man of narrative, the epic “Trapped in the Closet” series is the finest gift that R. Relly may have bestowed upon this world. Like Moses when he came down from that mountain with the 10 Commandments, Kells has 22 chapters (plus 11 more dropping tonight) that are all worthy of centering your life around. But it is in this lyric on which his operatic monologue is particularly gripping. Reason #1 being of course that he sings each role in the hood-novela himself. The other reason why it’s gripping is because his soon-to-orgasm lover is literally squeezing the fuck out of his leg. This is so awkward and awesome in its realistic depiction of sex, versus your average radio song that chooses to highlight only the romantic side of lovemaking. Or the crude side. But never the painful side. Again, R. Kelly sings what most of us struggle in our daily lives to articulate. We thank you Robert for shining a light on the voice that we (humanity) did not know we possessed.
4. "It's like a jungle atmosphere/ And we're two monkeys, baby."
SONG/ALBUM: “The Zoo” — Double Up
Chimpin’ ain’t easy. But from the mouth of R. Kelly it bears the circus ring of truth. It is specifically his dulcet, breathy, monkey-cooing later in the song that justifies this ridiculous verse opener — a line that would make monkeys of any other (lesser) R&B superstar. As such, Kells displays no shame. No embarrassment. I am awaiting in your Garden of Eden, Roberto. Take me to your leader. And let’s fling some shit.
5. "Girl you’re so fine/ Be my #2/ But you will never be my #1.”
SONG/ALBUM: “Be My #2” — Untitled
R. Kelly’s ego is very big. But to be honest, Kells lays it out that being the chick on the side is actually a better deal than being John, Dave, or Paul’s #1. The #2 girl actually knows a lot more truth about the situation and what’s really going on than the #1 girl, who is usually kept in the dark. Translation: Kells trusts you to do some dirt… together. The reward? Pancakes after sex (see “Etcetera”).
6. “'Cause, hey I'm black, handsome, I sing/ Plus, I'm rich and I'm a flirt.”
SONG/ALBUM: “I’m a Flirt” — Double Up
Someone, anyone, please tell me that Kells is a member of OkCupid.com. ‘Cause this is the profile bio I’ve been waiting for. What more can you ask for? There really is nothing else. I know that this is precisely what I’m looking for. This is the most truthful thing I’ve heard come out of the man’s mouth. And thus, paradoxically, the most unbelievable. Further proof that he can get away with singing anything.
7. “Girl, push menu and check out the features/ Just let me put this adaptor in you/ It will keep you charged up.”
SONG/ALBUM: “Remote Control” — TP. 3 Reloaded
Any lyric where a man surrenders himself to female control works for me. I wish we could control men with a remote, that would be so awesome. So thank you Kells for creating this fantasy. I’m not quite sure how I feel about being charged by an adaptor, I don’t think that’s what adaptors do. But you’re given the freedom to pick and chose which fantasy works for you, and fortunately, the entire TP.3 Reloaded album offers many other fantasy options you might be more interested in. (No mention, however, of urination. Which is curious.)
8. “Tonight you are my master/And I will be your slave/Bury myself all in you/As if you were my grave.”
SONG/ALBUM: “Whole Lotta Kisses” — Unititled
Ladies & gentlemen, let me introduce you to R. Kelly the morbid/goth/emo historian. Necrophilia hasn’t been so sexy since Thriller .
9. “Sex in the kitchen over by the stove/ Put you on the counter by the buttered rolls.”
SONG/ALBUM: “Sex in the Kitchen” — TP. 3 Reloaded
True, he missed a perfect opportunity to sing something along the lines of “I knead you” or something like that. But predictable double-entendres are not R. Kelly’s oeuvre. That would make him a mere mortal like us instead of the Master Pastry Chef of Love that he is (“Is that a rolling pin under your apron or are you happy to see me?”). Still, the imagery he creates is not one I can imagine as being very comfortable when engaging in some hot buttered love: sex on a stove? No thank you, the counter will suffice. I don’t prefer grill marks on my ass. But this is exactly what his music is about — he has cooked up a world for himself, his own world of literacy which you either embrace or you miss out on. And if you can’t stand the heat, guess what? Yes. Stay out of the kitchen.
10. “Let me stick my key in your ignition.”
SONG/ALBUM: “Ignition” — Chocolate Factory
This lyric is the — pardon the pun — “auto-erotic” follow up to 1995’s R&B hook of the year, “You Remind Me of my Jeep” and perhaps a sweeter(?) metaphor. Ignition = vagina. Key = penis. Yes I get it. But regardless of there being precedent for this song’s girl-as-vehicle comparison, it still has flaws: What about the transmission? Any preference for automatic or manual? How about power steering? Cruise-control? Sunroof? What about the Drivetrain? Is it all-wheel drive? Open differential or limited slip differential? Front-wheel drive versus rear-wheel drive? This all needs to be explained dammit! But something tells me we’ll get our answers. Like I said his/this car/sex thing is a common theme so I predict him to elaborate on this in the coming year.
Ok, you win Roberto. I love you.