Ya’ll know what I hate? I hate when cats who’s last couple of albums has been suspect for a minute and when they have a new album on tap, they either name it after the first one with a twist (see “Stillmatic”) or throw the part 2 on there. (see Raekwon’s Only Built For Cuban Linx Part 2) Or while doing promo for the album they keep saying “this is going back to my classic fill in the blank album” to give you that nosetalgia feeling like this artist is FINALLY back to making good music. So when I heard R. Kelly talking about his new album “Black Panties” is a throwback to “12 Play” the first thing that popped in my head was I’m not falling for the banana in the tailpipe. There’s no possible way on this earth that Kells can bring us back to “12 Play”…right? Well, then again…this is the dude who made “You Remind Me of My Jeep” and then followed it up with “I Believe I Can Fly” (which was played at my graduation from Morgan State) right? Maybe I need to slow my roll a bit before I say what Kellz can and can’t do. Because between the cover and the title, it looks and sounds like it’s in the same vein but can “Black Panties” REALLY come close to being the classic “12 Play” was?
“Legs Shakin” featuring Ludacris sets this “Black Panties” party off right cause this is that classic Kellz talking his ish that we’ve all come to know and love. The first single “Cookies” is dope but will probably get Kellz in XXL’s “step your rap game section” cause with lyrics like “I’m a cookie monster/break your back crack it open like a lobster” cause that’s exactly where he deserves to be. “Throw This Money On You” is about throwing money on strippers (hence the title) and between this and “Cookies” they’ll both be fighting neck and neck for which one will be the strip club anthem for 2014. The one thing I can say about “Black Panties” is that all of the song titles are kinda self explanatory. Take “Marry the Pussy” for an example, what would you think a song called “Marry the P-ssy” is about? You guessed it, marrying the p-ssy! “You Deserve Better” is Kellz telling a shorty “you deserve better/f-cking with this clown/pack your bags and we can leave now/don’t you let him bring you down” while “Genius” has Kellz telling his shorty “that tonight she’s laying with a sex genius.” “All the Way” featuring Kelly Rowland has the two of them creeping around saying that there’s no half mistakes so they might as well go all the way and surprisingly I actually mess with “My Story” featuring 2 Chainz (not 2 Chainz’ part tho) and “Right Back.” “Spend That” featuring Jeezy has Kellz doing his best Jay Z “I got more paper then you” impression, “Crazy Sex” is about ummm…you guessed it, crazy sex and “Shut Up” is the “trapped in the closet” story telling Kellz telling all of his hater to…you guessed it again, to shut up. “Tear It Up” featuring Future is about tearing it up, “Show Ya P-ssy” featuring Migos and Juicy J has them telling chicks to…you guessed it AGAIN, to show them their p-ssy while “Physical” and “Lights On” has Kellz slowing things down again and brining it back to the bedroom. But my personal favorite bedroom banger off “Black Panties” is easily “Every Position.” That jawn right there bangs and will mos def stay on repeat when it’s time to handle your business.
So is “Black Panties” the new 2014 version of “12 Play?” Nope…not at all. If I had to call it anything related to “12 Play” I’d say it was the 2014 “turned up” (God I HATE that phrase) version of “12 Play.” See, I’ve always been a ratchet kinda dude. Curses in R&B music and over the top sex talk or freaky interludes never bothered me…in fact I rock with stuff like that. Which is why I’ve always rocked with Kells. But on “Black Panties” Kells takes his curse game and the sex talk to a WHOLE nother level…to the point that even I’m like “dude…come on. Do you REALLY have to say p-ssy” 46 times on “Marry the P-ssy?” Or better yet, “what even made you name a song “Marry The P-ssy?” Well, I’m not in Kellz’ head but if I had to guess, I would say he named it that because he can. See, from working with teens in SE Washington D.C. over the last 13 years I’ve seen things go from bad to worst to REALLY f-cked up for them and whether it’s art imitating life or vice versa, the same can be said for music. I’m sure when Kellz dropped “12 Play” in ’94, folks who were 39 years old (like I am now) were probably like “this cat has songs called “Bump & Grind” and “Sex Me” on his album? That’s TOO over the top.” But at the time, my age group didn’t have ANY problems with it, in fact “Bump & Grind” and “Sex Me” are two of my favorite Kells bangers. Which is the same way in 2013 a 19 year old probably doesn’t have a problem with a song called “Marry the P-ssy.” In fact, I can hear my teens telling me, “well, at least he wants to marry the p-ssy Mr. Kil and not just be beat it up it!” But at the end of the day “Black Panties” is mos def some certified bedroom music (cause I can’t see me playing this on the way to work everyday) and if that’s what Kellz meant by he’s taking this back to “12 Play” then I guess he accomplished his mission for the 30 and under crowd. (or the REAL rathchet 30 and over crowd) But since I’m the old head now, I think if I wanna hear some good ole fashioned “12 Play” I’ll do like Dream said and “look for the white cover, the names in red letters” and pull out the original.
3.5 outta 5