R. Kelly speaks of the editing process for "Black Panties," writing songs in McDonald's parking lots, and playing "I Believe I Can Fly" for Biggie on Elliott Wilson's CRWN.
R. Kelly is the latest artist to get Elliott Wilson's CRWN treatment, and once again, the extensive sit-down resulted in a lot of interesting stories from throughout the singer's career. Kells spoke of his extremely prolific output, the importance of McDonald's in his songwriting process, and shared a story of when he tested one of his biggest hits of The Notorious B.I.G.
On how the more personal "Shup Up" ended up on an album full of sex-ballads, R. Kelly revealed that there was a very long editing process done for the album. "I did 362 songs for the Black Panties album, and it took me about a month [to choose]," he said. "The hardest task of the whole project was breaking down what songs we were gonna do. Once we finally got to it, it was between 'Shut Up' and another song."
It Turns out that Kells had a special connection to the song. "The reason I chose 'Shut Up' was the whole surgery I went through," he said. "30+ stitches on my throat, an abscess on my lung from singing and straining. Then, I started hearing all of the rumors, 'He ain't got it no more, Kells is old.” I ain't gonna lie, I was mad. I went into the studio after the doctor told me not to go into the studio for at least 2 weeks. That was the first song that came out of my mouth, and that's why it went on the album."
Giving more insight into his prolific process, the singer spoke of one of his biggest inspirations-- his mother, who he channels through a very specific memory. "Coming up me and my mother would go to McDonald's every day, and have a danish and coffee together," he explained. "Which is the reason I go to Mcdonald's. A lot of you don't know-- I've written a lot of the hits that y'all love, in the parking lot of a McDonalds."
Apparently, Kells has continued to revisit the memory to this day. "When she passed, whenever I want to feel the spirit of her. I'll go to a McDonald's parking lot and sit my ass there. I'll be in a Lamborghini just sittin' at McDonalds with a cup of coffee in my hand."
Finally, the Black Panties crooner shared the story of when he first wrote one of his biggest hits-- something he was able to share with the late Biggie Smalls. "I was in Detroit on your with Biggie. I was in the hotel lobby after the show and everything...I was sitting at this piano that I got them to unlock in the lobby," recalled the singer. "And then Biggie came in about 30 minutes later, because I woke up hearing the song “I Believe I Can Fly."
R. Kelly then recited his conversation with Biggie. "He said 'What's up B?' I'm like. 'sit down with me', and I start singing the song. He's all, “Baby, that's a hit!'"
Watch the full interview below.