R. Kelly Is Not Afraid of 5 Fingers Of Death. Catch The Kellz Freestyle (Video)

R. Kelly is often said to improvise many of his hits. Sitting at the keyboard, the 25-year veteran freestyles those very melodies and choruses that have changed the sound of R&B, and presumably created a few lives too. Somebody who is not often in the media, Kellz swung through today’s (July 16) Sway In The Morning show. There, the onetime Jive Records superstar proves that he is not above the hot-seat from his longtime friend Sway Calloway.

After just a few moments of pleasantries, Robert breaks right into 5 Fingers Of Death. DJ Wonder drops the needle on a wide-array of hits, ranging from some ’60s James & Bobby Purify to some Scarface score, to some Wu-Tang Clan ruggedness. Through it all, without hesitation, R. Kelly lays down melodies that just slide on the beats. An unusual freestyle (in that there is no rapping), this kind of feels like a live Ron G/Kid Capri blend tape, pairing some smooth Rhythm & Blues vocals with juxtaposed Hip-Hop beats and Oldies. It works, and this could be looped out and pressed onto tape for those super-fans.

After the freestyle segment, Robert speaks about his career, including Space Jam, working with Michael Jackson, to his Best Of Both Worlds albums with Jay Z. Notably, The R. adds that if there’s such a collaboration Rap-R&B album to be had today, Drake and Kanye West are the ones to do it.

Before heading out just before the 30-minute mark, R. Kelly performs a little in-studio choral “Bump n’ Grind,” and plays his new single from The Buffet album, featuring Juicy J and Wale.

Without R. Kelly, how would R&B sound different, in your estimation? Who could you see doing an artful Best Of Both Worlds concept?
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