Musically, 2002's The Best of Both Worlds was the perfect mix of Hov's brash Brooklyn delivery and Kellz's R&B thug timbre, even if the two failed to get along personally.
No hard feelings, though. Kellz says that even after he and Jay's public spat, heck, he still listens to Hov's music, particularly his Best of Both Worlds-styled Watch the Throne LP with Kanye West. "Absolutely; huge fan," Kelly told MTV News of how he received last year's regal Throne project.
When it comes to high-profile collaboration projects, Kelly and Jay were trendsetters. "We walked on the moon first, right?" he asked rhetorically.
In 2004 the pair went on the road to support their 2002 LP and its follow-up, Unfinished Business, but ever since Kelly pulled out of an October 2004 show at New York's Madison Square Garden, he and Hov have been on a rocky road. Despite their differences, Kelly has no regrets. "I love a good marriage — I love love. Anything that works for me, anything that feels good to my soul, that feels like this is what I should do, I'm gonna do it," he said of his collaborations with Jay and others. "I don't care what it is, who it's with. As long as it's positive and it works for both parties, I'm with it."
Simply put, the iconic R&B singer/songwriter just has a love for music. There are some artists who avoid outside influences when creating, but not Kelly, who admitted to listening to a bit of everything when putting together his recently released Write Me Back LP. "Lil Wayne, Drake, I still listen to Jay's stuff," he said. "I listen to Trey Songz, I listen to some of everybody, man. Rihanna, Beyoncé. It's so much talent out there."
What is your favorite R. Kelly collaboration of all time? Let us know in the comments!
He's just a Chi-Town guy with a Marvin flow! Stick with MTV News as we roll out more from our sit-down with R. Kelly, who talks Jay-Z, R&B beef, the rise of Chief Keef and more.