R. Kelly is ready to put the “R” back in R&B. After undergoing throat surgery in July, Kelly stopped by 107.5 WGCI’s Morning Riot radio show in Chicago for a rare interview in which he dropped the title for his next album, Black Panties, and talked about the shots Trey Songz has fired in his direction.
“It was really scary,” Kellz said of his surgery. “At the end of the Love Letter Tour, towards the end, I started feeling it. I thought I had a cold, but, man, I had like a cyst as big as a golf ball on my tonsils. The doctor’s though, they cut it out, they took care of me really good.”
While he is known for super sex anthems like “Your Body’s Callin’,” “Ignition” and “Half on a Baby,” R. Kelly took a gentleman’s approach on his 2010 album Love Letter. But don’t put him in a box. For his upcoming 11th solo LP, the Pied Piper is going to get nasty once again.
“I just did the whole Love Letter joint and everybody thinking, ’Oh that’s the direction he’s goin’ now,’ ” Kelly said on the Morning Riot on Thursday. “Nah, that was a moment in time, just like ’Ignition’ and ’Bump n’ Grind’ and all this stuff was a moment in time. Now this Black Panties album … it’s the new 12 Play.”
In 1993, the 12 Play singles like “Your Body’s Callin’ ” and “Bump n’ Grind” helped propel Kelly to the top of the charts, while low-key album cuts such as “I Like the Crotch on You” showed a more explicit side that fans ate up.
Kellz didn’t reveal much more about the new album, but did say that the first single, titled “10 Minutes” would be coming soon.
At his peak, Kelly was untouchable when it came to male R&B singers. But after his infamous 2008 child pornography case (in which he was found not guilty) and a few less-than-stellar albums, he wasn’t as flawless as he had been in the 1990s and early 2000s. New artists like Chris Brown and Trey Songz emerged as R&B’s leading men. Despite working together on Trey’s second album (R. Kelly produced “Grub On” on Trey’s 2007 Trey Day), the “Say Ahh” singer has been throwing shots at the R on songs and in interviews, criticizing Kelly for hopping on current trends like using Auto-Tune instead of standing as an innovator.
Kellz shrugs it all off. “I was pretty numb. I don’t feel those type of things. It’s like I’m bulletproof when it comes to beef. I don’t deal with beef, I love steak,” he said about Trey’s shots, before paying his rival a compliment, sort of. “I know Trey Songz is a guy that if he keeps with the hits and he humbles himself a little bit more, he will definitely be one of the runners up.”