It’s simply the most creatively executed R&B record in years.
For weeks, R. Kelly had his fans searching the Internet, buying mixtapes and calling radio stations to find out how his five-part musical drama, “Trapped in the Closet,” panned out. His new album, TP.3 Reloaded, includes a DVD containing a mini-movie for the song — and you can check it out right here.
“Trapped” starts off with Kelly — the story’s narrator — laying in bed after a night of adultery with “Mary,” a woman he met in a club. When he wakes, Kelly’s character is so guilt-ridden and alarmed that he jumps up and tries to leave the woman’s apartment. Unfortunately, her husband is on his way in. Kelly contemplates jumping out of the window until the woman reminds him that he’s on the fifth floor. With nowhere to hide, he quickly scurries into the closet. When Kelly’s cell phone rings, the man — a preacher named Rufus — finds him. Kelly draws his Beretta as Rufus is opening the closet door.
Of course, having a gun waved in his face seconds after finding his wife’s lover in his bedroom is enough to make even the most holy man lose his religion.
“Ho, I should’ve known/ That you would go and do some bogus sh– up in my house,” Pastor Rufus roars to wife — whose name is actually Kathy — as chapter two progresses. “But the Christian in me gave you the benefit of the doubt.”
Rufus, however, is far from being a pillar of honor. Turns out he’s been creeping as well and wants to rub it in his spouse’s face, hurting and humiliating her as she’s done him. While the couple argues, Kelly tries to make his way out of their crib — but when Rufus tells him that a surprise is on the way upstairs, Kelly begrudgingly stays, but threatens to shoot Rufus.
|“MTV Overdrive Exclusive: Mini-Movie For R. Kelly’s ’Trapped In The Closet.’ “|
Finally, the “mystery lady” is revealed when someone knocks on the door, and it turns out to be a man named Chuck! Yes, Rufus comes out of the closet as well — and those are just the first two chapters.
Later, the narrator’s wife is introduced, and like everyone else in this musical dramedy, she has something to hide too. And her secret will be the biggest shock of the narrator’s life.
For most artists, a five-part musical plus a few other songs would constitute an album. Not when you’re pregnant with music, as Charlie Wilson, one of the many artists Kelly has worked with, says (see “R. Kelly Is Worth Waiting For, ’Uncle’ Charlie Wilson Learns”). The Pied Piper of R&B has 14 other tracks on TP.3 Reloaded — the second sequel to his classic 12 Play album — which find him dabbling in reggae, reggaeton, hip-hop and, of course, R&B. The metaphors fly like bullets out of the narrator’s gun in “Trapped in the Closet.”
“Sex Weed” — yes, you’ve read the title correctly — is in the “Ignition”/ “You Remind Me” category. On the ballad, he compares making love to his girl to smoking the stickiest of the icky.
“I’m about to smoke it down to a roach,” he sings. ” ’Cause girl, you got that sex weed … Girl, just let me blaze it.”
“Remote Control” is another tongue-in-cheek ditty that finds Kelly promising to let his woman use his body like a remote. He’ll go faster, slower and then he’ll turn the tables on her. The sexual suggestions, the slow tempo and Kelly’s high-pitched singing will remind you of Prince in the ’80s, especially when the R. sings about “pushing the power button.”
As with “Sex in the Kitchen” — a song that gained Kells standing ovations when he tested it out on tour (see “R. Kelly’s Next Video: ’Sex In The Kitchen’ “ ) — the word “play” is put on pause for another slow jam, “Put My T-Shirt On.” The Pied Piper tells the woman exactly what he means: “Girl, put on my white tee … I love to see you with my tee shirt on,” he continues. “After we just got through getting it on.”
By now, you’ve already heard the first of the bevy of collabos Kelly has on the album, “Players Only” with the Game (see “R. Kelly Shoots Video With The Game As Hearing Continues” ) — the only song on the album the R. didn’t produce himself. Snoop Dogg checks in on “Happy Summertime” and Elephant Man helps solidify the wealth of Caribbean flavor on “Reggae Bump.” But the record that’ll make people mist up on sentimental value alone is the all-Chi-Town “Hit it Till the Morning,” which features Twista and the long off-the-scene Crucial Conflict.
Even with his impending trial, R. Kelly doesn’t seem like he’s in any immediate danger of fading from the scene. He already has a catalog of unreleased music in the vaults that is reportedly deeper than Tupac’s, and the man never seems to stop working. “Trapped in the Closet” parts six through 10 are already being crafted, and the buzz on TP.3 Reloaded is just as strong as any LP he’s put out. The Grand Canyon-sized gap between him and every other male R&B singer (except Usher) looks like it just got that much wider.