Ten years after Bell Biv Devoe proved that a hip-hop and R&B hybrid could work cohesively for a whole album, Jay-Z and R. Kelly plan to bring that vibe back.
“Me and Jay-Z are in the studio doing an album together,” Kelly told MTV News after winning six trophies at the Billboard Awards on Tuesday. “It’s a duet album called The Best of Both Worlds. We’re trying to put it down in a different way and give people something.
“We’re, like, nine songs deep,” he continued. “We’ve been talking about it, bragging to each other. If I see him in New York or he’s in Chicago, he’ll come by the studio. We’ve been talking about it for such a long time, bragging about ‘who’s this in R&B’ and ‘who’s this in hip-hop,’ so we decided to put it together.”
Representatives from R. Kelly’s label, Jive, and Jay-Z’s label, Roc-A Fella, could not be reached for comment on the album, its potential release date or what label it would be on.
The power duo have previously teamed up for hits such as Jay-Z’s “Guilty Until Proven Innocent” and Kelly’s “Fiesta” remix, which was named R&B/Hip-Hop Single of the Year at the Billboard Awards (see “Destiny’s Child, R. Kelly Win Big, Britney Gets Soaked At Billboard Awards” ).
In addition to his new duet with Fat Joe, “We Thuggin’,” R. Kelly can currently be heard on “The World’s Greatest,” the first single from the soundtrack to the movie “Ali” (see ” R. Kelly, Alicia Keys Get In The Ring For ‘Ali’ Soundtrack” ). He said that the movie’s star, Will Smith, and its director, Michael Mann, left it up to him to provide a theme for the film.
“Will got in touch with some people in my camp,” Kelly said. “Michael Mann, the director of the movie, was very interested. They sent me a little bit of the footage and I heard the song [in my head]. [Muhammad] Ali, he’s a fighter in the ring as well as outside of the ring. I grew up on him, and I was very inspired to be a part of that.”
Jay is currently planting his feet in the R&B world on the remix to Michael Jackson’s “You Rock My World.” In October, the acclaimed MC said that M.J. returned the favor by singing on another remix to Jay’s “Girls, Girls, Girls” that he wanted to release for Christmas (see “Michael Jackson To Join Jay-Z On ‘Girls’ Remix” ).
The first remix of “Girls, Girls, Girls” appears as a hidden track of The Blueprint and features Chanté Moore singing such lines as “I’m trying girls out, just trying girls out.” According to a source close to the project, M.J. redid her vocals for the new remix.
“We haven’t spoken about any videos,” Jay said in October. “I’m working on my dance moves, so we’ll see. I’m gonna get the shoulder bop down the steps, and we’re gonna make it happen. Nah, I’m just joking — no dancing. I have rhythm, but I’m cool to leave that to Mike.”