We last saw R. Kelly wearing a throwback jersey while riding on a camel in the video for “Snake.” And now, in the clip for his new single, “Thoia Thoing,” the Pied Piper of R&B has stepped up his jersey game even further.
A couple of weeks ago in Chicago, Kells went in front of the camera with director Little X calling shots and his wardrobe stylist working overtime. The singer can be seen wearing jerseys of current players like LeBron James, but instead of the teams’ name spelled out in English, Kelly has the words in Japanese lettering.
But “Thoia Thoing” isn’t all about futuristic fashion. Well, OK, maybe it is. Kelly sings at a fashion show where the models enter the runway via a pole. He later gives lessons to an all-female class at his dojo. Even though R., clad in a hybrid track suit/ karate gi, does give it a go swinging nunchucks, his main concern is making sure his students move their bodies like snakes to the beat of his song.
“I like Japanese culture a lot and [R.] says ’Japan’ in the song, so we took that and ran with it,” Little X said Tuesday (August 12) of the video’s Asian motif. “It’s performance-driven, but we really kind of float through different themes and keep it moving. Every verse and chorus there’s something new happening.”
Kelly capitalized on the time he spent in the Chi with Little X. Besides “Thoia Thoing,” the crooner also filmed the video for his “Step in the Name of Love” remix. A source working with the singer said that “Step …” will focus on the stepping dance popularized in Chicago, which R. refers to as not just a culture but a way of life.
Although “Step in the Name of Love” is a featured cut on Chocolate Factory, it will also appear on the greatest-hits LP The R. in R&B Collection Volume 1, along with “Thoia Thong.” Kelly’s rep said that while the braided singer still has to approve the final sequence of the album, a preliminary track list includes a new record called “Ghetto Religion,” featuring Wyclef Jean, and classic cuts such as “Honey Love,” “Bump n’ Grind,” “Your Body’s Callin’,” “Sex Me (Part 1)” and “I Believe I Can Fly.” A second limited-edition disc of remixes for tracks such as “Gotham City” and “I Can’t Sleep” is also scheduled to be included pending Kelly’s final thumbs up.
The “Thoia Thoing” video will begin airing this week while the airdate of “Step in the Name of Love” is still a few weeks away. The R. in R&B Collection Volume 1 will hit stores on September 23.