R. Kelly expresses a range of emotions through his music. The Pied Piper goes from loving to funny and downright freaky depending on the song. With “Shut Up,” a track off of his brand-new album, Black Panties, Kellz bares his soul and releases his frustration about the recovery period that followed his 2011 throat surgery.
“I got frustrated, first of all, because I didn’t have my voice. Trying to play it off like I do, but I really didn’t and that became frustrating because at the end of the day, you have to prove either you do or you don’t,” he explained to MTV News last Thursday of the inspiration for “Shut Up.”
On the song, Kelly also thanks his supportive fanbase and the doctors who helped him get healthy, but he also addresses those who counted him out and spread rumors about him.
But R. Kelly is used to public scrutiny. The Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter has battled accusations and negative publicity during his 20-plus-year career, including a 2008 trial in which the singer was found not guilty on child pornography charges. This week, The Village Voice published an interview with Jim DeRogatis, the Chicago journalist who first broke the R. Kelly sex scandal. In the new piece, DeRogatis revisited the Kelly investigation, sharing new details he said had been overlooked by the press.
MTV News sat down with Kelly four days before the release of the Voice story was published, but this week the “Ignition” singer stopped by Atlanta’s V-103, where radio host Big Tigger asked him how he was dealing with the latest report. “I feel like I got the football, man. I’m running towards the touchdown, [if I'm] stopping and looking back … [I might] mess around and get tackled,” Kelly said.
Kellz doesn’t make any mention of the 2008 trial in “Shut Up,” rather he focuses on the troubles he went through after the surgery that briefly derailed his career.
“I got frustrated with that, along with not getting the encouragement I needed and inspiration I needed from the people around me,” he reflected. “Instead, people started falling off, couldn’t get nobody on the phone or you start hearing rumors … ‘he ain’t got it no more, he got old’ and this, that and the other.
“I’m the type of person that can take tragedy and turn it into triumph and that’s what I did,” he continued. “The surgery and the whole vocal cord thing was probably the best thing that ever happened to me, because look at me now.”