The craziest part of my past couple weeks has been introducing nearly everyone I know to the comically absurd song “Pregnant” from R. Kelly’s new Untitled. Honestly, I can’t think of a better conversation starter. “Pregnant” is, honestly, the complete cap to the frenzied sexual desires of an aging R&B superstar. No longer able to sing about his youthful exuberance, the now 40-year-old Kelly is crooning about wanting to get girls pregnant. In his words, he’s looking for the “picket fence and a dog” before he mutters about “putting a girl in his kitchen” – confirming he’s the misogynist we’ve always seen, just in a more mature sense.
Possibly the most absurd thing about this track is the fact he recruited a superstar cast to accompany him.
A-listers The Dream and Robin Thicke appear alongside the B-list Tyrese, and all of them drop the most horrible lines about “knocking up” their women. The Dream might do the worst damage when he proclaims “don’t get it twisted/ for 30-somethin’ weeks I’m still gonna hit it.”
While “Pregnant” certainly has its fair share of shock value, the most incredible thing about it is that it’s actually a good song. Each of the artists, especially Thicke, lay down verses dripping in the sexual tension you expect out of an R. Kelly album. The Dream does a great job as well, likely trying to impress his idol Kel. And really, apart from this track, Kel’s Untitled isn’t all that full of shock value. It’s honestly exactly what you expect; each song is jam-packed with sexual references, many of them cringe worthy, but Kel’s voice is still top-notch. The beats are pretty slick, including my favorite “Exit,” all about him picking up girls from the clubs, which has a piano-centered bouncy beat that Kel slays with a repetitive chorus. “Go Low,” despite it’s incredibly inappropriate nature is still a rather solid track and his voice shines here more than in any of the other tracks.
Amid the incredibly ridiculous amount of sexual material on Unititled, Kel manages to still impress with a few of his lyrics. Most notably, the bridge of “Echo” where he proclaims “and we’re gon’ go to heaven from this room/ the gates will open when they see it’s me and you.” Sung in his best soul-singer impression, Kel impresses here more than anywhere else in the album. If he sang the entire thing like this, or even dropped his nymphomania for longer than a bridge, the man could have another massive hit like “Ignition.” And that’s the true flaw with Untitled – despite having a few strong tracks, they’re all far too racy for radio or even mainstream listeners to pick up. Tracks like “I Love the DJ” and “Crazy Night” may have strong hooks and be radio-friendly, but they’re really not indicative of the entire album, and for that reason wouldn’t make particularly strong singles. Don’t get me wrong, the man will still sell and has sold, plenty of copies of this album, but with his questionable past, Kel definitely should have dropped a bit of the sexual penchant on this album, and I can guarantee you that the public hearing a song like “Pregnant” isn’t going to bolster anyone’s idea of his morals. I mean, come on! The man even makes loneliness somehow completely sexual in “Text Me,” basically proving it’s his only objective.
And how about “#2?” Quite possibly one of the most misogynistic songs I’ve ever heard, this track is maybe even more questionable than the aforementioned. It’s all about his myriad affairs and the fact that these girls “(are) so fine/ but will never be (his) number 1.” You’d think after beating jail-time for one less-than-moral act your last goal would be to add more to your offenses, but hey, that’s R Kelly for you: completely shameless.
Kel may still be one of the best R&B singers of his generation the man definitely needs to get a grip on the real world. Untitled is good, sure, but for those of us that appreciate the morality of their artists, this one is probably a good one to skip.