Your “Trapped in the Closet” stands as perhaps your most polarizing work. Some critics have called it brilliant, while others have said it’s all laughs with no musical substance. Did you realize it was going to cause such a stir?
You are always going to have the negative and the positive. “Trapped in the Closet” is something I didn’t even expect. It is strange. But if you are going to be called a genius, which again I don’t think of myself as, then you have to [break those barriers]. You can’t hate on that. You have to respect a person willing to sacrifice their career to try something new. You can say a lot about “Trapped in the Closet.” But the one thing you can’t say is it’s not entertaining. And aren’t we in the entertainment business?
You’ve reached triumphant heights, but you’ve also dealt with a very dark period that threatened to end your career. If you could talk to that R. Kelly back in 2002, what would you say to him?
I would say, job well done... Now rise above this. Job well done... Now do better. Job well done... Now move on.
So you don’t regret anything?
I wouldn’t change anything that has happened in my past.
There’s a throwback soul to your latest album. Did you go into this project thinking I want to make an album my mom would love?
Absolutely. I’ve done the sexual songs. But after you do all of these songs you start hearing the younger generation and they’re kind of mimicking what you’ve done. The younger generation of fans are listening to it, while you just retired from your last album, to see what’s going on. So what I decided to do is back up a little bit, switch lanes and do something creative that throws everything off and gives the older generation props. Then I’m going to come back and do what I’m missed for.
Where will your next album, Black Panties, take us?
If you liked 12 Play, and if you liked TP-2 and Chocolate Factory, it’s pretty much all three albums combined.
What is the biggest misconception about R. Kelly?
Shit, you don’t have time. What are you doing next month? [Laughs] I mean there are so many things, because I’m very mysterious to a lot of people because you don’t find me out here or at the awards shows. You don’t see me in the club. And the reason is because I would rather be in the studio mixing these musical potions. Now sometimes they blow up in my face and there’s a lot of smoke. But that’s who I am. Music is what I do.
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