Before I decided to write this list, I had no idea just how many R. Kelly songs there were in the world, and I’d actually only heard a small handful from his entire career. And, of course, in addition to his normal catalogue, there’s also all of the remixes he’s done, some of which I just had to include in this list.
Writing this post, I’ve noticed a few patterns with his lyrics. He writes about 1 of 2 things. The first is just things he sees, or whatever seems to come to him at that moment. There are some examples below. The second is just straight up sex or sex-related things. That’s it. This is what has allowed him to make record after record for over 20 years.
Below is one of the most difficult Top 10 lists I’ve ever written. The list of songs to choose from was almost as daunting as choosing my Top 10 Favorite Daniel O’Brien Articles on Cracked.com. But here it is.
10. “I Believe I Can Fly”
I had to include this one for no other reason than it is just an R. Kelly classic. Featured on the soundtrack to Space Jam, it was a huge hit in the ’90s for Mr. Kelly. This is one of the only (if not, then the only song in his entire career) that doesn’t appear to involve sex or just random thoughts.
9. “Havin’ a Baby”
Is this song a follow-up to the song “Pregnant“? The song “Pregnant” almost made this list, but I figured that it really wasn’t necessary to include both “Havin’ a Baby” and “Pregnant”.
He’s so glad to be that baby’s daddy.
8. “Real Talk”
This song is very reminiscent of “Trapped in the Closet”. The entire song is R. Kelly sing-yelling at a person that we presume to be his girlfriend, who has accused him of seeing another woman. But (and this is genius), we only hear R. Kelly’s side. So, in the song he’s having a conversation with a woman, but we can only hear R. Kelly yelling things like “Wait a minute, let me finish!”.
Here are some of the things that he yells:
How the fuck she know I was with them other girls then?
When the whole club packed…wait a minute let me finish what I gotta say
I’ve been with you for 5 years and you’re listening to your motherfucking girlfriends,
I don’t know why you fuck with them old jealous,
No man-having, ass hoes anyway
And during one of my favorite parts of the song, the ending, he starts yelling for somebody named Milton. Hmm.
The next time your ass get horny go fuck one of your funky ass friends,
Hell you probably already doing that shit.
Anyway you’re gonna burn what?
Bitch, I wish you would burn my motherfucking clothes,
With your trifling ass
MILTON!…you bogus girl,
MILTON!…start your car and warm it up and get ready to take me home,
This bitch done lost her motherfucking mind
I took a moment to just highlight what I thought were some of the best lyrics. You can thank me in a comment.
7. “Same Girl”
This is probably my favorite R. Kelly duet. He and Usher are having a conversation where they realize they are “messing with the same girl”. But the music video is truly the best because there is actually an amazing twist at the end.
I like the cute nicknames they have for each other.
6. “The Opera”
This is the shortest selection on this list, clocking in at 1:23. This is also the song that made me realize R. Kelly has just been screwing with us for nearly two decades. It comes from his first double album, R., released in the ’90s. He uses his best opera voice to sing lyrics like “Dearly be, are you down with me?”, and finishes the song with the sounds of an applauding audience, as though he had just sung an opera. The man is brilliant.
5. “Ignition (Remix)”
This is the soundtrack to everybody’s weekend. It is quintessential R. Kelly, and it’s one of those remixes that I mentioned above. Lyrically, the remix has absolutely nothing to do with the original version.
I’m like, so what, I’m drunk.
4. “Sex Planet”
This song is about space sex. What can be better than space sex? The opportunities for lyrical double-entendres are limitless.
We’ll take a trip to planet Uranus, Anus.
Yeah, he just said that. I think R. Kelly deserves an award for best use of the word anus in an R&B song.
This song is pure genius. It’s all about having sex all day, until his lady starts to yodel in ecstasy. He even yodels in the video!
This video is no joke. This is the actual video for the song. Take a moment to process that. And just in case you didn’t know what an echo is, R. Kelly is here to explain it to you.
2. “Feelin’ On Yo Booty (Remix)”
I think that R. Kelly has done so many remixes that sometimes he can’t remember which one he’s currently recording. It’s also likely that he’s recorded so many remixes that there’s no way you or I could keep them straight, so he constantly reminds us which one we’re listening to. He makes it very easy for us (himself?), because the first lyrics you hear are “What remix is this? (Feelin’ On Yo Booty)”, sung in that special R. Kelly kind of way. (Before that, you can actually hear him saying “This sounds real familiar.”) Now, I could have included the original “Feelin’ On Yo Booty” in this list, but for me the remix so eclipsed the original that there was no way I could have been happy just using the original.
The falsetto at the end where he just repeats the word “Booty” makes this remix extra special.
1. “Trapped in the Closet”
For me, this was absolutely the high point in R. Kelly’s career. I think this “hip hopera” was a huge accomplishment for him, even though it’s not finished (yet!!). Currently, there are 22 chapters that you can watch on Youtube. Below I have provided a link to a Youtube playlist on Vevo that will play all 22 chapters sequentially. Unfortunately, the first video in the playlist is for the song “Share My Love”, which is an excellent song, but I believe was mistakenly added to the playlist. Also, the last song on the playlist after Chapter 22, is “Sex Me”, which I believe was also included erroneously.
And now I’m in this dark ass closet, tryin’ to figure out
Just how I’m gonna get my crazy ass up out this house
You can also go directly to the Vevo page for R. Kelly and watch them all there as well, and avoid the first video. Because they are through Vevo, they’re all very good quality. This is great because he’s releasing a new chapter next week, on Friday November 23. Daniel and I are so excited for it that we are planning on doing a marathon of the first 22 chapters.
That’s the list. What are some of your favorite R. Kelly songs?