Tuesday, 3 December 2013

R Kelly - Black Panties

It's been a busy year for feminists, what with Robin Thicke's "rapey" lyrics, Miley's twerking and Lily Allen's cutting parody Hard Out Here.  But if you think Blurred Lines is misogynistic, you ain't heard nothing yet.  

One of the problems with 'Black Panties' is that musically the production is cool and contemporary, but the album is totally undermined by the lyrics.  Smooth R&B melodies, sparse futuristic synths and minimalist beats characterise tracks like Throw This Money On You, You Deserve Better and Lights On, clearly taking inspiration from the likes of Drake and The Weeknd.

Yet the cold, metallic production puts the lyrics into stark relief, making them all the more shocking.  If the title alone doesn't indicate the base level of this album, then the not-so-subtle song titles surely will: including the likes of Legs Shakin', Throw This Money On You, Marry The P*ssy, Crazy Sex and Every Position.  At eighteen tracks long, 'Black Panties' is a relentless sexual assault on the ears and an exasperating listen.

It's not all about sex though.  R Kelly is certainly fixated with "thug life" and his use of the N word is almost unprecedented, particularly on the hilariously awful phone skit Prelude.  Yet the gangster lifestyle still permeates into his love-making, as on Crazy Sex where he asks his partner to "smoke some weed and thug it out".

Most of all, though, he's obsessed with women.  Actually it's not even that - he's obsessed with vaginas.  For him, women are merely sex objects whose "p*ssy's" should be "murdered", "bruised", "drilled" and "beat[en] 'till its blue".  What's worse is that he seems to think this is how women should be treated - on You Deserve Better he offers to "make love to you in fifty states... I got the kind of sex that heals".  And on Throw This Money he claims "all I wanna do is throw money on you", as if all women are worth is being treated like prostitutes.  No wonder it's hard out here for a bitch.

Trying to choose the most offensive track is an impossible task.  Cookie is an early contender for its food imagery - "I wanna lick the middle like an Oreo", "break your back, crack it open like a lobster" and the horrible "put it in my face, let it rain".  Later there's Marry The P*ssy - in his own words "a sex proposal".  Perhaps the most explicit track, this is a love song on which R Kelly croons terrifyingly to a woman's lady parts rather than to her face and contains the most use of the word "p*ssy" I've ever heard.  Show Your P*ssy is its counterpart, in which he orders his woman to "climb up, slap down, bend it over, twerk now, bounce walk, touch feet, split split split split, now let me see".

Perhaps the most shocking of all though is All The Way, featuring Kelly Rowland.  As she coos sexually lines like "you're right back injecting me", it's clear that she's complicit in his disgusting behaviour.

Can this really be the same artist who sang I Believe I Can Fly?  R Kelly seems to be shocking for the sakes of shocking and the result is horrendous.  Simply listening is enough to make you feel dirty.  Somebody run me a cold shower.


Gizzle's Choice:
* Throw This Money On You
* You Deserve Better
* Lights On

Listen: 'Black Panties' is released on December 10th.