It may have taken over two decades, but R. Kelly has finally spoken out about the allegations swarming around him, from the claims of a “sex cult” to his preference for teen girls. In “I Admit,” the new R. Kelly song, a 19-minute-long, rambling mess, he proclaims his innocence and repeatedly asks for sympathy. But we’re not buying it.
“I Admit” was posted this morning to Soundcloud, and immediately the internet took notice. After all, it wasn’t just a new R. Kelly song — his first since 2015 album The Buffet — but the first time Kelly addressed the litany of charges against him. Musically it could be compared to a serious, overwrought version of the multi-part melodrama “Trapped in the Closet.”
The song starts with Kelly singing, “I admit I done made some mistakes,” and the bulk of the first two verses are standard braggadocio, talking about how he admits he “done fucked with a couple of fans” and doesn’t go to church. (He also admits “I’m a gift and a curse” in one of many WTF? lines.)
Verse 2 starts the thread of the song in which Kelly’s asking for sympathy — he also admits to being dyslexic — along with more “oh no, I’m sorry I had consensual sex with people I shouldn’t have!” lines. But it’s Verse 3 where he starts to really delve into the allegations.
Verse 3 sees Kelly blaming his managers (for putting him in front of cameras, which is generally what a good manager does), and attacking the #MeToo movement for getting shows cancelled. Kelly says “How they gon’ say I don’t respect these women, when all I’ve done is represent / Take my career and turn it upside down, ’cause you mad I’ve got some girlfriends” presumably in reference to the sex cult allegations against him, in which it’s claimed Kelly grooms teenage girls and forces them to have sex with him and others.
Later in the song, he addresses the claims of underage sex abuse, singing, “I admit I fuck with all the ladies, that’s both older and young ladies / But tell me how they call it pedophile because that shit is crazy.” Perhaps people “call it pedophile” because Kelly married Aaliyah when she was 15 and has gone to court over allegations he made a 27-minute sex tape with an underage girl.
While this new R. Kelly song is supposed to be his attempt at explaining himself, he doesn’t do so very well. His arguments seem to be ‘I made good music so you should respect me’ (“I changed the damn game, so I deserve me a fair play, so put some respect on my damn name”), ‘I’m dyslexic,’ ‘I’m broke’ (“Now the truth in this message, is I’m a broke ass legend / The only reason I stay on tour, is ’cause I gotta pay my rent”), ‘I was molested at 14′ (“From a child to the age 14, yeah / While I laid asleep, took my virginity / So scared to say something, so I just put the blame on me / Now here I am, and I’m tryin’ my best to be honest” and, finally, that the claims against him are “absurd” (“Said I’m abusing these women, what the fuck that’s some absurd shit / They’re brainwashed, really? / Kidnapped, really? / Can’t eat, really? / Real talk, that shit sound silly”).
While the new R. Kelly song “I Admit” is no doubt revealing, unfortunately for the rapper it’s not revealing in the way Kelly likely intended it. If anything, this new song bolsters the case of his detractors.