On the cover of R. Kelly’s upcoming album, “Black Panties,” the R&B king clutches a cello bow and caresses a topless woman as if she’s an instrument. The deluxe cover features him atop a bed of women clad in only black underwear.
However he’s depicted, his point is obvious: The sex jams are back.
After a set of well-received — and critically acclaimed — efforts were steeped in the simmering melodies of classic soul, “Black Panties” marks the singer’s return to the raunchy, sweat-soaked loverman role that that made R. Kelly famous and infamous.
Out Dec. 10, “Black Panties” is anchored by the (many) ways Kelly goes about pleasing his lover. On Monday, a week ahead of its release, Kelly offered a full stream of the album.
Gone is the chivalrous ladies’ man that anchored 2010’s stellar “Love Letter” and its follow-up, 2012’s “Write Me Back.” Instead the man who has previously turned everything from the solar system to his kitchen and his car into oddly brilliant sexual metaphors returns with a libidinous appetite as insatiable as it is explicitly hilarious.
Featuring guest spots from Ludacris, Kelly Rowland, 2 Chainz, Jeezy, Future, Migos and Juicy J, the album leaves zero to the imagination. He sings about wanting to marry a woman’s reproductive organ (that’s the “cleanest” way we can say it) on one track, turns the innocuous joy of eating an Oreo into something more sinister on another. Kelly even goes as far as declaring himself a “sex genius” on one bedroom knocker.
After a few blush-inducing listens we found some of the disc’s craziest moments sure to raise eyebrows or pulses, depending on the listener.
Here’s 10 standouts — well, the (barely) printable ones:
1. “I know that he hurt you, I’ve got the kind of sex that heals” — “You Deserve Better”
2. “This is a sex proposal” — the tamest lyric on “Marry the …”
3. “Make your body sing to me / Sounds like R. Kelly’s greatest hits” — “Lights On”
4. “Every boy, every girl, every child around the world / From the 90s, up until today, was made off me” — “Shut Up”
5. “Climb up, slide down, bend it over, twerk now” — “Show Ya …”
6. The “Prelude” in which Kelly taps into the multi-character absurdity of his “Trapped In the Closest” series for a bawdy exchange between bickering lovers and Kelly — all, of course, voiced by him.
7. “My bed could be your stage and I’mma make you a star / Your legs in the air, my hands all up in your cookie jar” — “Cookie”
8. “I want to do it, do it, do it, do it, do it in every position / see I ain’t got no favorite one” — “Every Position”
9. “I’m a college grad / Girl I got my degree/ I’m the head of my class / Girl you got the real thing” — “Genius” (and no, the song isn’t about academics)
10. “There’s so many crazy ways we can do it / Pick one, pick ten, it just don’t matter babe / Just step up in my room and let me get creative” — “Crazy Sex”
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