Twenty years since making his debut, R. Kelly remains one of the most influential and consistent hitmakers in the game. Before his 12th solo album Black Panties drops tomorrow, the R&B genius sat down with Rap-Up TV for an exclusive interview. In Part 1, he discusses his recent collaborations with pop superstars Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, and Bruno Mars, and his latest work.
“Black Panties is mixed with 12 Play, TP-2.com, and a bit of the Born Into the 90’s album,” he said of the project, which features everyone from 2 Chainz to Kelly Rowland. “It’s got all those elements in there, but of today.”
He collaborated with Justin Bieber on his #MusicMondays single “PYD.” The two met up a year ago after discovering they were staying in the same hotel.
“I was lovin’ his music, he was lovin’ mine, so we said, ‘Man, we got to do something together,'” said Kellz. “He finally sent me a track and it was ‘PYD,’ and I put my verse on it and the rest is just history.”
He was so pleased with the results that he’s enlisted the teen idol for his next album. “He’s gonna be doing something on my next up-and-coming album,” revealed Kellz.
Last month, the Chicago native shared the stage with another pop powerhouse, Lady Gaga, at the American Music Awards. “I feel like I met my match when I met Gaga,” he said. “She got a lot of balls. She got a lot of nerve. She’s not afraid to express her music through her vision.”
The two shot a video for their collaboration “Do What U Want,” which Kellz describes as “retarded,” adding, “If you put the two together, you got bi-polar maybe or something like that. … It’s gonna be off the chain.”
If that wasn’t enough, he also guests on the remix to Bruno Mars’ “Gorilla,” which he admits was a challenge at first.
Additionally, he hinted that Bruno may be featured on an upcoming remix of his. “I’ve been talking about, once the album gets going, gettin’ some of these guys that called me. I’ma call them up and say, ‘Hey man, you owe me a favor, dawg.'”