The year was 2013. R. Kelly, the man deemed the most successful R&B artist of past 25 years — Mr. Bump N’ Grind himself — resurged onto the pop circuit. No, he was not itching for a comeback. Robert Sylvester Kelly was just getting started.
1. When a petition called for President Obama to legally change the national anthem to “Ignition (Remix).”
“…America has changed since Francis Scott Key penned our current anthem in 1814. Since then, we have realized that after the show, it’s the afterparty, and that after the party, it’s the hotel lobby, and—perhaps most importantly—that ‘round about four, you’ve got to clear the lobby, at which point it’s strongly recommended that you take it to the room and freak somebody.”
2. When his back-to-basics hit “My Story” shot straight to #1 on Billboard’s R&B list.
And he repped his Chicago roots hard.
3. When Kellz and Gaga teamed up to give us “Do What U Want,” the body-rolling anthem of the year.
4. And its memorable performances which, uh, included more than a helping of body rolls.
R. Kelly makes his brief SNL cameo one of the most memorable.
8. When he became the only person in the world who could turn “Cookies” into something NSFW.
An important excerpt from the song:
Like an Oreo/
I love to lick the middle like an Oreo/
Turn up/ Oreo, Oreo, like an Oreo/
I want to bite it and get inside it till I get you gone
9. When “President Kelly” and Gaga channeled JFK and Marilyn Monroe to give one of the best performances at the AMA’s.
And when he peeped up Gaga’s dress for a whole shameless six seconds.
10. And the great “caption this!” moment of the night as he’s sandwiched in a conversation with these two.
11. When he literally rolled through the AMAs red carpet with a big fat cigar in tow.
12. When his sweet crooning “Genius” single was actually genius.
In an interview with VIBE, writer Keith Murphy called him a “mad genius” for penning and delivering his own “brand of rhythm and blues: devilish admittances via gospel vocals.”
Listen to the smart bedroom single here.
13. When he randomly jumped on a Justin Bieber track, proving pop culture still can’t get enough of Kelly.
Listen to all the ways he and Biebs will “PYD.”
14. When he released “Show Ya P***y” from his sooncoming Black Panties album (because, of course).
And recruited Juicy J and Migos to help really drive his message home.
16. When, in an effort to promote his upcoming album, he launched the first ever “Black Panties Hotline.” (Yes, it’s a real thing.)
Apparently, when you dial in, you will hear a personal message from R. Kelly himself.
17. When he announced a new episode of the Trapped In The Closet saga is only MONTHS away.
And revealed to TMZ that one of its songs will include the word “spatula.”
18. When he turned four random topics into sex ballads, proving he’s still the undisputed king of freak.
In a video interview with Rolling Stone, he was asked to write four sexy songs about unsexy subjects. On the spot. And he delivered—oh, did he deliver. “With my gift, I can pretty much write a song out of anything,” he boasted.