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R. Kelly has been nothing short of a musical phenomenon. His masterful fusion of R&B, gospel, pop, hip-hop, and classic soul has garnered him more top-forty hits (fifteen and counting) than any other male solo artist of the 90's.
As a singer, songwriter, producer, and remixer, he has earned multi-platinum sales, multi-format successes, numerous awards, sold-out world tours, and international praise. He has written and produced songs for
Mary J. Blige,
Gladys Knight, Michael Jackson,
Luther Vandross, Notorious B.I.G.,
Kirk Franklin, and
R. Kelly made his first impact in 1991 with his backing band Public Announcement. The Album "Born Into the 90's," released to critical acclaim on Jive Records, became a number three selling R&B title, and spurned the top forty hits "Honey Love" and "Dedicated," as well as the top ten R&B smashes, "She's Got that Vibe" and "Slow Dance (Hey Mr. DJ)".
Certified platinum in 1992, "Born Into the 90's" introduced R. Kelly as a potent Pop and R&B force. Kelly's 1993 sophomore effort, "12 Play," solidified his massive crossover appeal. He hit number one on the both the Hot 100 and R&B singles chart with "Bump N' Grind," and also scored multi-format hits with "Your Body's Calling" and "Sex Me Parts I and II." With his distinct and sexually charged sound and lyrics, the album was certified five-times platinum a year later, and R. Kelly was firmly established in the pantheon of 90's Pop and R&B giants.
Kelly's third album for Jive, the eponymous "R. Kelly," was released at the end of 1995 and became his first number one Pop and R&B title. The album sparked three number one R&B tracks, three top five Pop hits, and sold more than five millions copies. In 1997, he struck gold with the international number one, gospel-inspired anthem "I Believe I Can Fly" from the Warner Brothers film "Space Jam." The song swept the 1998 Grammy Awards, winning three statuettes, including "Best R&B Male Vocal Performance," "Best R&B Song," and "Best Songwriter." R. Kelly describes "I Believe I Can Fly" as his greatest achievement to date. "It mattered the most not only to me," he says, "but the world and it did a lot of people some good ... to make us all feel like we can all love ... that song had no color."
In November of 1998, R. Kelly released "R.," the sprawling, ambitious double CD, which debuted at number two on the Billboard 200. Diverse and accomplished, this eclectic collection featured a wide range of musical styles and incorporated the sounds of such disparate artists as Jay-Z, Celine Dion, Foxy Brown, and NAS. Producing two number one songs, "I'm Your Angel" (the duet with Celine Dion) and "Half on a Baby," the album was certified six-times platinum.
Hit songs include --
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