Music Review: "Black Panties"- R. Kelly

December 6, 2013 Chi-Town legend R. Kelly released his 12th studio album titled “Black Panties”.  The Pied Pieper and King of R&B blessed his fans with new sexy slow jams and club bangers with a touch of the modern “trap” hip-hop sound. My favorite songs were “Legs Shakin’ featuring Ludacris, “Cookie”, “All the Way” featuring Kelly Rowland, and “Shut Up”.

As of recently, many veteran and older artists that have been in the game (for over a decade) have been trying to gain the support of teens and young adults by changing their style of music. This due to the fact that Generation Y, aka “The Millennials”, makes up the majority buyers of popular music today. If an artist wants to stay relevant in this new aged music industry, they have to provide and produce what young people are geared towards, unfortunately sometimes that means dumbing down their lyrics and overall talent, which I don’t agree with at all.

R. Kelly definitely keeps it grown and sexy with this new album, but you can also recognize that he’s also trying to keep the attention of younger fans with the fresh hip-hop sound and lyrics yelling out popular sayings like “turn up!” on “Legs Shakin’” and using auto-tune on “You Deserve Better” and “Right Back”. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing in his case. R. Kelly has always been able to keep up with the progression and advancement of popular music and has always been capable of providing endless hits being able to compose and croon songs about literally ANYTHING.

With R. Kelly getting older in the game and slightly losing popularity from younger audiences, I can understand why the album wasn’t as mature as I expected it to be. Despite that, what I loved about this album was the fact that he stays true to his r&b roots and maintains the Chicago r&b “juke culture” vibe with the production. Songs like “Legs Shakin’” and “All The Way” reminded me of growing up in Chicago going to the Rink and MLK Skating Rink hearing the slow jams playing and people dancing, performing the infamous Chi-Town “Wala Cam” “hip rolls” and slow dancing. R. Kelly brought humor to this album with the “Prelude” skit and his famous singing/storytelling rants on “Shut Up”.  “He’s washed up, he’s lost it, he ain’t got it no more…” I love the fact he sings this song in his signature “freestyle” manner, flow, and not to mention, testimonial lyrics discussing his struggles. Overall, this was a decent album. I only wish it was longer and that R. Kelly made more grown-up and personal/storytelling songs like “Shut Up” as he has always done on his albums. Even though he has changed his style a bit on this album, he still remains the King of R&B and keeps his music to a rhythm and blues “T”. I give this album 3.5 stars out of 5.



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