The R. In R&B - Greatest Hits Collection Vol. 1
label: jive
production: r. kelly, trackmasters, precision, g-one.
guests: wyclef jean, ronald and ernie isley, public announcement, keith murray, celine dion, jaz-z, boo, gotti.
year of release: 2003
CD 1
1. Bump-N-Grind
2. Your Body's Callin'
3. Sex Me (Part 1)
4. Gotham City
5. Ignition - Remix
6. Down Low (Nobody Has To Know) feat. Ronald & Ernie Isley
7. When A Woman's Fed Up
8. Thoia Thoing
9. Touched A Dream
10. I Wish
11. Ghetto Religion feat. Wyclef Jean
12. The Storm Is Over
13. She's Got That Vibe by R. Kelly & Public Announcement
14. If I Could Turn Back The Hands Of Time
15. The World's Greatest
16. I'm Your Angel feat. Celine Dion
17. I Believe I Can Fly
18. Home Alone feat. Keith Murray
CD 2
1. Bump N' Grind - Old School Mix
2. Down Low (Nobody Has To Know) - Live To Regret It Mix (Blame It On The Mo') feat. Ronald Isley
3. Step In The Name Of Love - Remix
4. Fiesta - Remix feat. Jay-Z, Boo, Gotti
5. Gotham City - Remix
It's that time of the year again: The world is gearing up for the most stressful time of the year, Christmas, and everyone wants a piece of the money pie. This is the time where everyone and their elves is releasing a 'best of' record. And the first to do so, actually kinda early in the process, is R. Kelly. And quite arrogantly he claims that he's the 'R. in R'n'B.' So he's the rhythm. Maybe because he can't sing the blues. Well, basically, he's not the best singer on this planet, and…
As you can tell, there's many reasons why to not like R. Kelly. And you all know a couple more. But you have to respect the other R. when he's under all this pressure, bad mouthing, attention, etc. etc. and he answers musically. The answer obviously was "Ignition - Remix". This song is just irresistible. The groove is so smooth, pimps looks like sandpaper. You couldn't even get mad at the ignorant video, because the song was just so damn dope. This is everything that "Fiesta" supposedly was. And that song is on here too, however on the 'Remix Bonus Disc'. The track's beat is still a disaster, what leaves it unexplained why everyone was bumping such a crap song.
Also on this remix disc is a smoother and better version of "Bump N' Grind", called Old School Mix. And if the women doesn't melt in your hands when this song plays and you kiss her soft spot, then there's nothing to help your clumsy ass. Same goes for "Down Low (Nobody Has To Know) - Live To Regret It Mix (Blame It On The Mo')", that's also more bare, and hence seems to be more pure and without any cash considerations. And more important: this is still R'n'B, as opposed to all those Pop songs that are considered R'n'B, simply because they're sung by a Black artist. Even "Gotham City" gets an interesting reworking: it's minus the chorus, plus some talking, a rap guest appearance, resulting much more in a new song, than just a remix. And for the balance, there's the grooving "Step In The Name Of Love - Remix". This is not brash and that's why it's so good.
But back to the main platter. And here we can listen to R. Kelly's development from his very early appearance - is it the first? - "She's Got That Vibe". That came out in a time when the music world looked very different and urban music didn't reign the charts. But how did you call that R'n'B style back then? New Jack? Something like that. So yeah, that's that. And after this song, it took "I Believe I Can Fly" for R. to blow up like the Hindenburg. Now R. Kelly was a super star among the super stars and a figure that was asked to do more movie theme songs. So there came "Gotham City" and later "The World's Greatest". What's the difference between these songs? Not much really. R. has found a formula that works (and it does work), and he rides it to death. So you get these emotional melodies (and as said, they are really good, memorable and all that) you add a choir, and voila, you got a hit record. So if it works for movies, it can work for you personally too (or for Michael Jackson, see "You Are Not Alone"), hence there's "The Storm Is Over Now" and "If I Could Turn Back The Hands Of Time".
But that's just this side of the coin, with the other having more songs to groove to. Like the new song "Thoia Thoing", the almost Neo Soul and thoroughly good "Touched A Dream", as well as the party favorite "Home Alone" with Keith Murray. However, this record really focuses on the slow to midtempo cuts, from "Bump N' Grind" to "Sex Me (Part 1)", to the collaboration with the Isley's Ronald and Ernie on "Down Low (Nobody Has To Know)", where R. Kelly captures a good amount of 70s vibe, to the collaboration with Celine Dion "I'm Your Angel", that just shows how far into the mainstream acceptance R. Kelly was able to move.
The Volume 1 in the title is probably partially good wishing, as almost all the really huge hits are on here. But there are a couple of notable misses. What's however not that important. More important is that as much as you (including me) want to hate R. Kelly, his music makes it hard for you; some of these songs are just too good. So don't hate, appreciate.
review: tadah
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