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Black Panties [Deluxe Edition] [Parental Advisory]
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Performer Notes
  • Recording information: Aye Girl Studios, Atlanta, GA; Chalice Studios, Los Angeles, CA; Patchwerk Studios, Atlanta, GA; Quality Sounds Studio, Atlanta, GA; The Chocolate Factory, Chicago, IL; The Ludaplex, Atlanta, GA.
  • Photographer: Randee St. Nicholas.
  • Arranger: R. Kelly.
  • After Love Letter and Write Me Back, classy and relatively polite throwback albums, R. Kelly reverts to sexually exaggerated and wholly contemporary content for Black Panties. Kelly, joined by a deep roster of fellow songwriters and producers, dispenses with the strings, horns, and dashing charm, and dishes out sleaze by the bucket over modern backdrops that slink and whir. All the material is slow and mostly pared down, made to maximize space for his still generous supply of hooks and outlandish rhymes. Awestruck lines like "And if I'm ever in the mood for two pussies, then a pussy will bring another pussy to me" allow "Marry the Pu**y" to eclipse Jaheim's "P**** Appreciation Day" and the-Dream's "P*ssy" as 2013's most extreme ode to tubular tracts. The sinister boom-and-twinkle of "Cookie," mostly about servicing, would probably place fourth. The album isn't all filth. "You Deserve Better," a winding and atmospheric ballad, is typically materialistic but sweet; this time, when he sings about cracking lobster, it's in reference to dining, not his woman's back. The low-slung "My Story" is a bit debauched but details his rise to fame. "Right Back," among the deepest and most bittersweet songs in the man's catalog, expresses gratitude to close friends. At one point in the album, Kelly even proclaims "We ain't even gotta touch," though that leads to "All I wanna do is throw this money on you," which leads to "We gon' fuck around and make a baby in this room." Occasional resemblances to Drake and the-Dream are as blatant as the Isley Brothers and Michael Jackson exercises of Write Me Back. The similarities are so obvious that it's tough to discern if Kelly is acknowledging his younger followers, aiming to beat them at their game, or both. ~ Andy Kellman
Professional Reviews
Rolling Stone (p.95) - 3 stars out of 5 -- "On 'Genius,' the best cut, he employs low-key strings....[His] voice remains one of the most flexible and inventive instruments in pop..."

Entertainment Weekly (p.58) - "At 46, Kelly still goes for broke. The virtues of prayer, marriage proposals, and pleasure-giving seamlessly combine..." -- Grade: B
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