Music CD Spotlight 

Closet case

R. Kelly has no shame. In the real world, that's a bad thing, as demonstrated by his reptilian fetish for school girls too young to legally drive away from his Chi-town sex lair. In the real world, it's also an embarrassing thing, as when his paranoid diva antics incite members of Jay-Z's crew to shoot some pepper spray in his eyes.

TP.3 Reloaded
R. Kelly
(Jive)
In the musical world, however, this studio savant's inability to see the foolishness/creepiness of his own ways can yield some intriguing results. Take "In The Kitchen," possibly the most laughable seduction number ever penned by an R&B love man: "I want sex in the kitchen, over by the stove / Wanna put you on the counter, by the butter rolls." What could be more exciting for the object of his "affections"? She's slaving and sweating in a hotter-than-hell kitchen to put a meal on the table for his sorry ass, and the whole process makes him want to have sex, over and over. Toward the end of this aural porn fantasy, when he puts a wildly inappropriate gospel melisma on "butter roll," you're reminded that ridiculousness can be a form of genius.

Just to show the dudes that he's also looking out for them, Kelly offers this nugget of wisdom to men who whine about losing their ladies to playas like him: "If your game ain't tight, don't bring your woman to the motherfuckin' clubs, dog." Those of us with slack in our game will forever be grateful.

Most attention will focus on this album's concluding, five-part soap opera, "Trapped In the Closet," in which Kelly gets busted with another woman, who busts her husband with another man, before Kelly drives home and busts his wife with a cop who gave him a speeding ticket. You could tell that story in about eight seconds, but Kelly manages to stretch it to 16-and-a-half mind-melting minutes, with sung dialogue too stupid to believe, but too shameless to resist.

- Gilbert Garcia


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