R. Kelly has a penchant for overlong and ludicrous flights of fancy that still manage to be incredibly compelling. The man behind 33 chapters of Trapped in the Closet — a hip-hop opera detailing multiple love triangles between convicts, gay clergy, pie-baking Southerners and little people — should be expected to go off on wonderful and weird tangents every once in a while. And that’s exactly what happened when GQ convinced the crooner to sing the story of his life. Robert Kelly sang/talked for 45-straight minutes, detailing his rise from Chicago’s Southside to global superstardom.
Included in the story are tales of growing up in poverty (including being shot while riding his bike), the shock of sudden success (choice line: “I was like a sea. I was like a fish in the middle of an ocean, and then I woke up as a whale in the middle of a pond.”), and honestly heart-rending scenes detailing his strained relationship with his mother. For people who don’t have three-quarters of an hour to spare, there’s an abridged seven-minute version.
For people with even smaller attention spans, there’s the 2013 Black Panties hit “My Story.”