Prior to being arrested, charged, and subsequently incarcerated on federal charges alleging sex crimes and the obstruction of justice, Robert Sylvester Kelly – professionally known as R. Kelly – was one of the music industry’s most successful artists. Dubbed the “King of R&B” at one point, Kelly was widely known for his songwriting for other artists as much as for his own music, and listeners across the world are clearing their playlists of all of his contributions to music.
R. Kelly wrote and produced a countless number of songs for other artists, such as Michael Jackson’s ‘Cry’, Justin Beiber’s ‘PYD’, and Britney Spears’ ‘Outrageous’. He collaborated with a lot of different artists such as Nick Cannon, Celine Dion, and Ja Rule.
To be frank, as one of the industry’s biggest record producers, traces of the disgraced star’s creative mind can be found in a plethora of tracks from the 90s onwards. Find out what the biggest songs are that R. Kelly wrote for other artists below.
Kelly’s Creative Footprint
In the 1990s, long before headlines broke connecting him with an alleged sex cult, Kelly was riding the crest of one of pop culture’s biggest waves – the emergence of R&B. In his younger years, Kelly was seen as a pioneer of the genre, the man who redefined R&B, and a big-time icon.
Before the turn of the century, the controversy-plagued star wrote and produced a number of high-profile tracks for other artists, cementing his reputation as a talented songwriter and producer.
One of the most popular of these 90s tracks was Michael Jackson’s ‘You Are Not Alone’, which was recorded in late 1994 and released in 1995. On writing a song for his idol, the King of Pop, Kelly said: “Michael has, like, a feminine thing going on. I know he’s not like that, but at the same time, I had to jump into that to do it. I felt funny at first, but I had to accept it if I wanted to write a song strictly for Michael.”
Unknown to many, in 2007, It was ruled by a Belgian court that Kelly had plagiarized the composition of the song, with the court saying he had ripped off a song by Eddy and Danny Van Passel.
Another notorious song that Kelly wrote and produced in the 90s was ‘Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number’ for Aaliyah, the young star who Kelly would go on to allegedly illegally marry when she was just 15 years of age, faking the marriage certificate to say the teen was 18.
The track was wildly popular upon its release. But the controversy surrounding Kelly in recent times, and the song’s overriding theme, warranted its inclusion in USA Today’s 20 politically incorrect songs that’d be wildly controversial today list.
The dawn of the new millennium would see Kelly progress in his career as a producer and collaborate with several other A-list stars such as Whitney Houston (‘I Look to You’), Ja Rule (‘Wonderful’), and Snoop Dogg (‘That’s That Sh*t’).
Whitney Houston’s ‘I Look to You’, which was released in 2009, debuted at number one of the US Billboard 200 chart. Popular among fans, it is the song that Kelly famously sang at the singer’s funeral in 2012.
The song ‘Honey’, which he wrote and produced for Jay-Z, was a well-loved collaboration between the two artists, while Nick Cannon’s ‘Gigolo’ was the young artist’s third single of his self-titled debut album.
With Kelly’s production credentials firmly established, the star artist went into the 2010s with an impressive creative discography behind him. The next decade would see him collaborate with artists like T.I. (‘Can You Learn’), Kanye West (‘To the World’), and Lady Gaga (‘Do What U Want’).
It was in this decade that Kelly would also face a swathe of sexual abuse and child pornography accusations that would eventually see the artists charged and incarcerated for his alleged crimes.
In 2017, a few years before his incarceration, he wrote ‘Juicy Booty’ for Chris Brown, who’s career had also been marred by controversy. The song, while popular with some fans, also sparked outrage on social media, with many claiming the song perfectly encapsulated the problem with both artists, the industry, and pop culture itself.
While his contributions to music have received their due popularity over the course of his career, the writing has been on the wall for some time regarding R. Kelly’s alleged crimes.
Now, cleanse those playlists…