I decided that my inaugural post to Counterforce, on this historic week, in which pizza loving Barack Obama accepts the presidential nomination from the Democratic National Committee, this is the perfect time to talk about the most influential black man in my life, a man known to you all as Robert Kelly.
The first time I fell in love with Mr. Kelly was as a pissy little 18 year old liberal arts freshman. I was home for break and my brother was singing acapella to his classic song, “Feelin’ On Yo Booty” (off of what I feel is his best work, TP-2) and I insisted the song was fake. How can this be, I said? How can a song exist that is dedicated to uh, feeling on someone’s booty, in such a blatant way? I was very wrong, my dears. Oh, so very, very wrong. The song was REAL and it would worm its way into my punk rock girl heart of stone, previously dedicated to listening to songs about being sad, being pissed and not drinking. I learned the joy of songs about being in the club, getting drinks purchased for you, and having a man truly appreciate your posterior.
He starts the song, telling you that he is “for real, no doubt” and that the DJ is making him feel “thugged-out”, a feeling I’m sure is quite pleasant. The rest of the song is a dedication to a woman’s booty, and to feeling on it, but that this feeling, this dalliance in the middle of the dance floor is short lived, since he will be taking off after the dance. Lest you think Mr. Kelly has a one track mind, in the middle of the song, he gives recognition to those who’s birthday it is, to those who have their own jobs, and to those who have some cash. He encourages you to celebrate these facts by putting your hands up but then again reminds you, that “players want to play” and that he will be leaving after he does this dance with you.
The next R. Kelly song I fell in love with was “Fiesta”. Perhaps I was attracted to the spanish word; I am of Latin American heritage after all. It is a celebration of the highest status one can hope to achieve in life: VIP (NSFW link!). In the song, we learn about the different types of alcohol commonly consumed in the VIP, namely Cristal (known in the song as Cris), Hennesey (or Henny), Moet (or “Mo”) and my favorite, Tanqueray, to which we are encouraged to add a little “juice to”. Personally, I prefer tonic, but who am I to question a man who “pops Cris on a daily base” and “has honies all up in the place”? Truly a vision of a life we should all aspire to.
No discussion of Mr. Kelly’s body of work can be complete without a mention of what I’m sure is the culmination of years of work and study: the Trapped In The Closet rock opera. It would be impossible for me to even begin to describe the pathos, drama, excitement that this story is. We begin with R. Kelly waking up in a bed that is not his own and the chaos that ensues when her husband comes home while he is getting ready to leave. R.Kelly hides in the closet and well..the story goes on from there. I enjoy this rendition of it, with each character played by a SIM:
Last, but certainly, certainly not least, we have…Real Talk. It’s a song that’s burned itself into my conciousness, and a phrase that I use daily, multiple times, when saying something that I need you hear, that is so honest. In this song, R. is having a conversation with his girlfriend of 5 years who has apparently seen him hanging out with some girls in the VIP section of the club, a place we already know he frequents. He insists nothing was happening, asking her if “DID YOU SAY THERE WERE OTHER GUYS THERE?” and then prompting her, as many boyfriends have asked me to before not to listen to the advice of my friends, or in his cutting words, to those “jealous, no man having ass hoes anyway” ; they know nothing of the intimacies of their relationship, since they “don’t eat with us, don’t sleep with us, and what they eat don’t make us shit.” Indeed, Mr. Kelly. Indeed.