April 23, 2008

R. Kelly > Shakespeare - ?

Today is supposedly William Shakespeare's birthday and as a result there have been a number of odes to the bard in print and on the airwaves, but what I haven't heard are speculations as to who a present day Shakespeare might be.  My vote?  R. Kelly.  

There are plenty of reasons to find Kelly repulsive as a human being but if you can't remember the mid to late 90's then you may have forgotten that this guy was putting out songs (and the videos to match) that transcended genre - see here, here and here for examples.  He's got everything: star-crossed lovers, tragic untimely deaths, despotic "rulers," innuendo out the wazoo, and all of it packaged nicely for the masses.  However, his magnum opus, his Hamlet if you will, has to be his 22 episode hip-hopera Trapped in the Closet.  While I've never actually made it through the whole thing in one sitting -for reasons which will become abundantly clear- you can start your journey here and should be able to piece together the whole thing.  However, check out the episode below for a little taste of what you've been missing (NSFW language).

Classic.  Shakespeare would have eaten that stuff up.


Pomeroy Kinsey said...

This is the post ever. Did you read this review a while back, in 2005? I got the album after reading it. It was insane, but fascinating. The reviewer makes the argument, kind of convincingly, that R. Kelly was liberated by all his sexual perversions being public and the impending trial. Now he has embraced his freak publicly. Paige and I watched 12 episodes of Trapped after you posted it. I had never seen it, so thanks. I was stuck talking like R. Kelly afterwards, singing everything I wanted to say in the way he tells the story. So thanks.

j said...

I've never seen that review but it makes perfect sense. You definitely get the sense that with Kelly it is art imitating life and that now the one is fueling the other and vice versa. The only Kelly album I ever owned was 12 Play which I listened to way too much - I've always planned on singing Sadie (couldn't find the real video) at my mom's funeral.

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