I know what you’re thinking. I’m not the typical R. Kelly fan. But when you realize the King of R&B, inventor of the remix, and the genius behind “Trapped in the Closet” has written for Gladys Knight, The Isley Brothers, Whitney Houston, Janet Jackson, Céline Dion, Vanessa L. Williams, Brian McKnight, Mary J. Blige, and Jennifer Lopez, it broadens your perception of who you think R. Kelly is. For the record, I’ve been a hopelessly devoted fan since he was R. Kelly and The Public Announcement, and my first memory of his velvety voice was to “Honey Love” on a local Dallas radio station. Since that moment, I’ve been unwavering in my love for his music, even during his slight departure from traditional R&B into hip-hop territory. Like many of Kelly’s adoring fans, I’ve been counting down the days until the release of his brand spanking new “Love Letter” album, and I’m happy to report that it lives up to the hype and then some.
With a nod to the Marvin Gaye era of soulful crooners, Kelly wrote and produced every song on “Love Letter”. His voice is undeniably strong and full of emotion on two glowingly beautiful tracks, When a Woman Loves and How Do I Tell Her. If you were one of the lucky fans who scored a limited edition from Best Buy, you can’t deny the When A Woman Loves remix makes you want to shake your moneymaker in sheer delight. If there’s one thing that makes R. Kelly stand out from a crowd of R&B powerhouses, it’s his ability to tell a story through song, and convey raw emotion the entire track through. If you’re expecting the sexy, late-night beats of the “12 Play” album or even “T.P.-2″, you’re remiss. This new creation takes the best of greats like Sam Cooke, Marvin Gaye, and Ron Isely and fuses them together to produce a romantic, heart-tugging, ballad-filled love letter. Like Madonna, R. Kelly has reinvented himself through his music in a way that puts him on an entirely different level than the Biebers and Gagas of present day. “Love Letter” is clearly his gift to his fans, and as one of his biggest, I got the message loud and clear.