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Music Review: R Kelly - Double Up

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Robert Sylvester Kelly is a hard man to pin down.  With legal cases looming and overall declining music sales, Kelly steps back into the arena with one of the year’s best selling R&B albums.  Double Up has been in the stores for months, and sales are far from disappointing.  That alone is an amazing double play, as Kelly seems to overcome all obstacles and win at the cash register. 

Kelly continues his annual tradition of releasing a new album with Double Up.   It’s filled with Kelly’s sexual street serenades, as he moves further from traditional rhythm and blues into the current hip-hop morph that is today’s R&B.  The album is definitely for “the grown and sexy”, as Kelly’s libido is out in full force with "Double Up" the title track which is a reference to a ménage a trio.   In the song, Kelly and Snoop Dogg look for willing participants in their private party, and a pair of ladies to drape on their arms.  Most of the album follows this theme, with Kelly finally dropping all the smooth, slick songs of his past and getting right to the point with these, club banger, no brainers.

The biggest song off the album so far, is T-Pain assisted single, “I’m A Flirt,” a song that found a nice home on FM radio station play lists nationwide.  Depending on how heavy Jive wants to dig into their promotional dollars, Kelly can expect to see a few more singles land on the top of the charts, as several cuts are ready for the radio.  “Tryin’ To Get A Number” feat. Nelly, “Get Dirty” feat. Chamillionaire, “Best Friend” feat Keisha Cole & Polow Da Don, and the Virginia Tech memorial song “Rise Up” will get the mandatory spins during Sunday morning mix shows and family functions. “Same Girl” with Usher, is rising up the charts and getting non-stop burn on most urban stations, as The King of R&B continues his reign.  

There are a few other cuts on the album that have received severe criticism. “Zoo”, a song that celebrates sex by comparing it/us to monkeys, tigers, and other wild life, has been attacked by critics.  9th Wonder, producer of the critically acclaimed Justus League/Little Brother, recently spoke on Double Up and the song “Zoo”, and he wasn’t kind in his opinion. 

When asked if he had heard the album, 9th Wonder responded “I think the R. Kelly album is an abomination of black people. The zoo song – if that’s not the most ridiculous s**t.  It really hurts me that black people are going around playing that mess.”  He elaborated on Kelly’s career, his child-pornography case and his amazing ability to continue to perform and top the charts, despite his legal worries.  This is a feat that must make Michael Vick, Michael Jackson, and Don Imus green with envy, as they all received harsh criticism and scorn for their offenses while Kelly is the new teflon don.

Many are watching and listening to Kelly’s every step.  There have been protest, numerous law suits, Dave Chappelle skits, and swaying public opinion with crowds booing and cheering his performances, while his sales continue to increase.  Meanwhile, Kelly’s court date of  Sept. 17th has been pushed back yet again, this time due to the pregnancy of the lead prosecutor.  While it’s too early to tell if he will win his case or ever actually be tried, he is definitely winning with the platinum selling “Double Up”.

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