There’s a huge debate over which generation had the best music. The 70’s and 80’s are the typical choices, but I can’t ignore some golden tunes from the 90’s. One of my favorite artists on the list was R. Kelly. To be fair, Space Jam is mostly to blame. To this day it remains on my list of “Top Strangest Movies I’ve ever Watched”.
R. Kelly, more formally known as Robert Sylvester Kelly, was born on January 8 1967. He is a well known singer, songwriter and record producer, however he used to play professional basketball. R. Kelly was born in Chicago, Illinois in a single mother household. Despite an absent father, it didn’t stop Kelly from pursuing his interest in music.
R. Kelly’s estimated Net Worth as of 2017: $150 Million
Let’s see how he built up his riches, shall we?
Early Career – 2001
R. Kelly first began performing in the late 1980s on a number of stages, but he didn’t actually debut until 1992 with the group Public Announcement. He later went solo with his album 12 Play, which included his first big hit “Bump N’ Grind”.
In 1998 Kelly won three Grammy Awards for his song (and one of my personal favorites) “I Believe I Can Fly”. He also became the first musician to play professional basketball in 1997. By 2000, he released three more studio albums including R. Kelly, R., and TP-2.com.
2002 – 2008
R. Kelly continued writing and producing songs for movie soundtracks on top of his albums. As his popularity increased, he began working on collaboration projects with other artists. Upon completion of The Best of Both Worlds, he and other artists hoped that it would inspire black unity as a whole.
Following that album, R. Kelly and Jay-Z announced their Unfinished Business tour. Unfortunately their rivalry got in the way of their performance. R. Kelly was reported being late or not showing up to gigs while Jay-Z complained about staging. Eventually, R. Kelly was removed halfway through the tour after being attacked with pepper spray (ouch!).
He later went on to release more studio albums between 2003 and 2008, including Chocolate Factory, Happy People/U Saved Me, TP.3 Reloaded, and Double Up.
2009 – 2011
After a number of lawsuits and critiques following the Unfinished Business tour, R. Kelly released “I’m a Beast” in which he musically attacked his detractors. He didn’t explicitly reveal any names that the song was aimed at, so fans could only speculate.
In 2008, he planned on releasing his next album 12 Play: Fourth Quarter, however it was postponed before being leaked online in July.
Luck seemed to leave R. Kelly’s life around this time. After separating from his wife Andrea Kelly, they finalized the divorce in January 2009. Before separating, the two had been married for about 11 years.
Despite his pitfalls, it didn’t keep him from releasing albums. Between 2008 to 2011, R. Kelly released two albums: Untitled and Love Letter.
2012 – Present
His golden years may have passed, but R. Kelly doesn’t seem to slow down. His most recent endeavors include The After Party Tour.
To this day, R. Kelly is keeping the ball rolling. Between 2012 to now he’s released three more studio albums: Write Me Back, Black Panties, and The Buffet.
Unfortunately, recent news has brought a major scandal to light. According to Rolling Stone and Buzzfeed News, R. Kelly has been “accused of ‘brainwashing’ at least two aspiring female singers into sexual servitude”. Buzzfeed allegedly claimed that Kelly kept at least six women in his Chicago and Atlanta properties. The women then have to adhere to strict rules and perform sexual acts.
One woman who was part of his entourage confirmed these claims. She said, “You have to ask for food. You have to ask to go use the bathroom. . . [Kelly] is a master at mind control. . . .He is a puppet master.”
R. Kelly has not responded to these claims, however his Chicago lawyer Linda Mensch responded to Buzzfeed News.
We can only wonder why folks would persist in defaming a great artist who loves his fans, works 24/7, and takes care of all of the people in his life. He works hard to become the best person and artist he can be. It is interesting that stories and tales debunked many years ago turn up when his goal is to stop the violence; put down the guns; and embrace peace and love. I suppose that is the price of fame. Like all of us, Mr. Kelly deserves a personal life.
Sometimes it’s hard to see a man underneath all the fame he’s built. Hopefully the truth comes to light soon.