The image above represents the only memory I have from my chilhood of Mr. Kells. It’s a bizzare image to be sure; the iconic sarcastic Bugs Bunny, Bulls legend Michael Jordan and self-proclaimed Pied Piper of R&B, Robert Kelly. To combine these into a soundtrack for what was essentially an hour and a half advertisment for Nike, Jordan and the Looney Tunes should have been viewed as a disater.
Then, just as much as now, the critics and movie-goers were divded. In the end, the movie-goers one. Made from an $80 million dollar budget, Space Jam made $230 million dollars at the box office. A sequel to Space Jam, set to star Lebron James, will attempt to repeat the success. Would they call about R. Kelly to re-create his soundtrack magic? In light of the new “Surviving R. Kelly” documentary on Lifetime, I highly doubt Warner Brothers would.
This doesn’t matter to me at all given that I was never a fan of R. Kelly to begin with. You may debate the popularity of “I Believe I Can Fly”, but it does stand out as one of the most “normal” of his catalog. To consider just how different this song is, consider the list of hits he has done had before 1996 and after.
- “Honey Love” – 1992
- “Bump N’ Grind” – 1993
- “Your Body’s Callin” – 1993
- “Sex Me” – 1993
- “Feelin On Yo Booty” – 2000
- “Fiesta” – 2000
- “Gulity Until Proven Innocent” – 2001
- “Ignition” – 2003
- “Trapped In The Closet” – 2005
- “I’m A Flirt (Remix)” – 2007
Occasionally R. Kelly would return to the safe zone with songs like “The Storm Is Over”, “The World’s Greatest”, “Step In The Name Of Love” and “If I Could Turn Back The Hands Of Time”. The hits in the list above far more in line with the image that people connect with; the oversexed lothario who shuts the party down. Making light of his very troubling personal demons does not cement this opinion as I decided I felt this way long before this accusations came up.
This may be tough for those who are extreme fans of his who stand by the creedo of seperating the art from the person that created it. There are artists who should fall into this category for reasons that I shall discuss in another article – Michael Jackson and Prince. R. Kelly on the other hand, aside from his more “commerical” hits, very much stay true to his image with an eerie dose of 50 Shades Of Grey added in for good measure.