R. Kelly‘s attempt at redemption on the recently released I Admit is unhealed word vomit from a man on the brink of losing it all. Kelly’s deviant behavior towards Black women is reprehensible, but I Admit implores deep questioning into the psyche of a man who was sexually abused himself, but fails to recognize the victim hood in others.
Kelly has always had a way of laying it all down on a beat, no fancy hooks, just him delivering whatever comes to mind in the essence of Trapped in The Closet. For years, Kelly has been accused of running a sex cult, kidnapping, physical and sexual abuse against women. After all, Kelly has been accused of unspeakable acts against both adult and underage women. However the (arguable) R&B goat has hit an impenetrable wall reinforced by the movement #MustRKelly, countless investigations and the tears of women who’ve escaped his stronghold.
Kelly admits that he doesn’t own his music because he is dyslexic and couldn’t read his contract when he was first entering the industry. That he couldn’t read the teleprompter at the Grammys when they asked him to present. He hasn’t seen his kids in years. He admits that he’s slept with fans young and old and engaged in acts with women on the road. He particularly asks for forgiveness for having sex with his ex-girlfriend’s best friend at the Ritz. “I admit I’m sorry for my sins,” he croons.
Kelly’s battle with substance abuse is made clear through lines like “I admit I been tempted by drugs/ I admit that I just need a hug.” And his battle between two worlds, heaven and hell proves to be too much to handle. “I admit the devil talk to me sometime, but the devil is not who I trust.”
But it gets murky when he begins to “admit” to the sexual allegations. Kelly believes his deemed unacceptable behavior is “opinion.”
“I admit I f*ck with all the ladies, that’s both older and young ladies (ladies, yeah)/ But tell me how they call it pedophile because that shit is crazy (crazy).”
Kelly never actually takes responsibility for his conduct and insists he’s just a freak and blames the victim’s parents while addressing rumors that he kept women enslaved without food and communication.
“Said I’m abusing these women, what the f*ck that’s some absurd shit (what?)/ They’re brainwashed, really? (really)/ Kidnapped, really? (really)/ Can’t eat, really? (really)/ Real talk, that shit sound silly (yeah)/ And if you really, really wanna know (know)/ Her father dropped her off at my show (show)/ And told this boy to put her on stage (yeah)/ I admit that she was over age (age)/ I admit that I was feelin’ her and I admit that she was feelin’ me (she was feelin’ me)/ I admit that that’s the shit that comes with being a celebrity (celebrity).”
He reveals he once had a conversation with Wendy Williams, where he admitted to loving Aaliyah. “What about Aaliyah said?” Love/ She said “What about the tape?” I said hush.”
It a known that Kelly faced sexual abuse at the hands of a family member, but he goes into detail about the incident that set him up for an inescapable cycle of abuse.
“Now, I admit a family member touched me (touched me, touched me, touched me)
From a child to the age 14, yeah/ While I laid asleep, took my virginity (sleep, gini’)/ 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 (honest)/ ‘Cause the sources out there tryna keep me from bein’ an artist/ I admit I’m at rock bottom (oh, oh)/ And this shit has rocked my mind (my mind)
I’m calling on my hood, come walk by my side (my hood, oh).”
At its core, I Admit is a mixture of self-preservation and a superficial cry for help from a man who feels Black women need to put some respect on his name — solidified by lyrics like “Now the truth in this message, is I’m a broke ass legend (message, legend)/ The only reason I stay on tour, is ’cause I gotta pay my rent (on tour, my)” and “They don’t want me to shine, women’s group, my god (shine, god)/ Now don’t get it twisted, I do support ’em, but why they wanna bring down the [?].”
Kelly is a troubled man, whose adolescent experiences magnified by wealth and fame, have created a monster who doesn’t know he has claws. He falsely navigates the world under the guise of scripture without the Godly light needed to live a better life.
“Turn the world against me, but only god can mute me (against me, mute me),” he sings. Kelly’s day in the sun has come and no amount of boo-oo-t-ies can bring him back.