The Second Disc

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I Don’t See Nothin’ Wrong with a Little “Essential R. Kelly”

with 18 comments

The Essential R KellyOn May 19, Legacy Recordings adds to its growing library of Essential volumes with the release of The Essential R. Kelly, the first-ever career-spanning anthology for the three-time Grammy-winning R&B superstar. Over 35 tracks on 2 CDs, this title chronologically revisits the key recordings of Kelly’s major-label career, including cuts from every one of the artist’s albums from 1991 to 2012.

The career of Chicago-born Robert Sylvester Kelly has been one of the most successful in modern-day R&B as well as one of the most diverse.  Kelly wrote or co-wrote every track on his 1992 studio debut Born into the 90’s with Public Announcement, and its release heralded a major new talent.  That LP spun off the artist’s first two chart-topping R&B hits, “Honey Love” and “Slow Dance (Hey Mr. DJ).”  (Both songs also made the Hot 100.) Both of those tracks are featured on The Essential.  In all, the anthology features no less than eleven hits that went to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot R&B Singles and/or Hot 100 charts from “Honey Love,” heard here in its Radio Fade version, through 2002’s “Step in the Name of Love.”  The latter is presented in remix form.

Of course, those eleven songs are the tip of the Kelly iceberg, as the artist has tallied 78 charting singles as lead artist and over 50 more charting songs as a collaborator.  In addition to the 11 Number Ones, The Essential adds 18 Top 5 or Top 10 hits released between 1991 and 2009.  The collection is packed with rare and hard-to-find remixes alongside original album versions, movie soundtrack one-offs and pairings with artists including Ronald and Ernie Isley (“Down Low”), Nas  (“Did You Ever Think” – Remix Radio Edit), Celine Dion (the chart-topping “I’m Your Angel” in its radio version), T.I. & T-Pain (“I’m A Flirt Remix” in its Main Version), Usher (“Same Girl”), and Keri Hilson (“Number One”).  The Essential also makes room for more guest appearances with The Notorious B.I.G. (“#!*@ You Tonight”), Sparkle (the #1 “Be Careful”), Ja Rule (“Wonderful,” also featuring Ashanti), and Cassidy (“Hotel”).  Of the soundtrack efforts, you’ll hear the three-time Grammy winning song “I Believe I Can Fly” from the 1996 Looney Tunes film Space Jam, the Remix of “Gotham City” from 1997’s Batman and Robin, and the radio edit of “The World’s Greatest” from the 2001 biopic Ali.

After the jump, we have more details including the full track listing with discography, and pre-order links!

The Essential samples a career that is still going strong.  As of this writing, R. Kelly has another 21 Grammy nominations to his name, including R&B Album Of the Year nominations for his last three consecutive albums:  Untitled (for 2011), Love Letter (2012), and Write Me Back (2013).  This new compendium features liner notes by VIBE Magazine’s Senior Editor Keith Murphy.  It’s due in stores from RCA and Legacy on May 19, and can be pre-ordered at the links below!

R. Kelly, The Essential R. Kelly (RCA/Legacy 88765 44450-2, 2014) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Disc 1

  1. She’s Got That Vibe (Radio Edit) – R. Kelly & Public Announcement
  2. Honey Love (Radio Fade)  – R. Kelly & Public Announcement
  3. Slow Dance (Hey Mr. DJ) (Video Mix)  – R. Kelly & Public Announcement
  4. Sex Me (Part I) (Street Radio Edit)
  5. Bump N’ Grind
  6. Your Body’s Callin’
  7. You Remind Me of Something
  8. Down Low (Nobody Has to Know) (feat. Ronald and Ernie Isley)
  9. I Can’t Sleep Baby (If I) (Radio Edit)
  10. I Believe I Can Fly (Radio Edit)
  11. #!*@ You Tonight – The Notorious B.I.G. feat. R. Kelly
  12. Gotham City (Remix)
  13. Be Careful – Sparkle feat. R. Kelly
  14. When a Woman’s Fed Up
  15. Did You Ever Think (Remix Radio Edit feat. Nas)
  16. If I Could Turn Back the Hands of Time (Radio Edit)
  17. I’m Your Angel (Radio Version) (Duet with Celine Dion)

Disc 2

  1. I Wish
  2. Feelin’ on Yo Booty
  3. The World’s Greatest (Radio Edit)
  4. Ignition – Remix
  5. Thoia Thoing
  6. Step in the Name of Love – Remix (Radio Edit)
  7. Hotel – Cassidy feat. R. Kelly
  8. Happy People (Radio Edit)
  9. Wonderful – Ja Rule feat. R. Kelly & Ashanti
  10. In the Kitchen
  11. Trapped in the Closet (Chapter 1)
  12. I’m A Flirt Remix (Main Version feat. T.I. & T-Pain)
  13. Same Girl (Duet with Usher)
  14. Number One (feat. Keri Hilson)
  15. When a Woman Loves
  16. Love Letter (Radio Edit)
  17. Feelin’ Single
  18. U Saved Me (Radio Edit)

Disc 1, Tracks 1-3 from Born Into the ’90s (Jive, 1992)
Disc 1, Tracks 4-6 from 12 Play (Jive, 1993)
Disc 1, Tracks 7-9 from R. Kelly (Jive, 1995)
Disc 1, Track 10 from Space Jam: Music from and Inspired by the Movie (Warner Sunset, 1996)
Disc 1, Track 11 from Life After Death (Bad Boy, 1997)
Disc 1, Track 12 from Batman & Robin: Music from and Inspired by the Motion Picture (Warner Sunset, 1997)
Disc 1, Track 13 from Sparkle (Interscope, 1998)
Disc 1, Tracks 14-17 from R. (Jive, 1998). Disc 1, Track 17 also featured on These Are Special Times (550 Music, 1998)
Disc 2, Tracks 1-2 from (Jive, 2000)
Disc 2, Track 3 from Ali: Original Soundtrack (Interscope, 2001)
Disc 2, Tracks 4 and 6 from Chocolate Factory (Jive, 2003)
Disc 2, Track 5 from The R. in R&B Collection Volume 1 (Jive, 2003)
Disc 2, Track 7 from Split Personality (J, 2004)
Disc 2, Tracks 8 and 18 from Happy People/U Saved Me (Jive, 2004)
Disc 2, Track 9 from R.U.L.E. (The Inc, 2004)
Disc 2, Tracks 10-11 from TP.3 Reloaded (Jive, 2005)
Disc 2, Tracks 12-13 from Double Up (Jive, 2007)
Disc 2, Track 14 from Untitled (Jive, 2009)
Disc 2, Tracks 15-16 from Love Letter (Jive, 2010)
Disc 2, Track 17 from Write Me Back (RCA, 2012)

Written by Joe Marchese

April 29, 2014 at 12:58

Posted in Compilations, News, R. Kelly

18 Responses

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  1. I see PLENTY wrong… Dude’s terrible. And a perv.


    April 29, 2014 at 19:58

    • I completely agree Shaun


      April 30, 2014 at 04:38

  2. OK, you need a reality check. People reading your emails and posts are not interested in shithead rappers. OK? Now go back to sending information about people with actual musical talent — you know, the ability to actually sing and/or play a musical instrument.

    Jason Paskowitz

    April 30, 2014 at 05:32

  3. Yeah, this guy’s reprehensible enough to not deserve the press, and I’d say that even if he were a more interesting, captivating and high-quality performer / songwriter. He’s destroyed lives, ’nuff said.

    April 30, 2014 at 05:35

  4. And before you paint me with the inevitable race-baiting brush, know that the last album I bought (this week) is the import CD on Soul Jam records of The Marvelettes – Playboy and Please Mr. Postman 2 albums on one CD. Found it at indie record store Other Music in Greenwich Village, NYC.

    Jason Paskowitz

    April 30, 2014 at 05:39

    • You do realize that’s about as relevant as saying “some of my best friends are black,” right?

      Besides, if I’m gonna complain about something, it’s not questions of racism, but your attempt to speak for the entire readership of TSD. I visit this site every day, and I love rap. Guess I’m weird like that.


      April 30, 2014 at 11:35

      • Pull up some of the recording industry research on who are the biggest buyers of expanded and super-deluxe versions of catalog titles — you know, the kind of people who might be interested in The Second Disc. Or what types of music we typically listen to. Hint: It isn’t holier than thou wanna-be hipsters listening to rap.

        Jason Paskowitz

        April 30, 2014 at 22:41

      • Nope, all my friends are other middle-age white boys doing the corporate/legal/medical thang. But many of my favorite artists in my album collection — that’s another story.

        Jason Paskowitz

        April 30, 2014 at 22:44

      • I honestly don’t even understand what kind of provocation and/or insult you’re attempting to make with the hipster comment, but as for the ‘typical’ TSD customer, sure, I’ve no doubt that certain genres skew differently ’round these parts. But are you seriously suggesting that just because something’s less popular overall it should be ignored altogether? Take a look at the TSD About page ( and note that the aim of the site is to track catalog re-release news. Period. Rock, pop, rap, country, jazz, disco, film scores; it’s (practically) all here. I can’t stand modern country, but I’m not going to go on a tirade just because Garth Brooks has a new compilation coming out. You may as well try to insist that your local record store only stock the albums YOU like. That’s not their job.


        May 1, 2014 at 00:25

      • Right on, JG. The purpose of The Second Disc is to cover ALL reissues and remasters, whether it be in the rock or rap category. And some of the complaints here in the comments are ridiculous. Funny, I don’t recall any outrage when TSD covered the Nas reissue a while ago.

        Victor Dang

        May 1, 2014 at 13:04

  5. And you ARE aware that most of your readership likely considers the Grammy’s a joke?

    Jason Paskowitz

    April 30, 2014 at 05:40

  6. That header is kind of offensive guys.

    Stephen Sears (@xolondon)

    April 30, 2014 at 20:51

    • Isn’t it just a lyric from one of R Kelly’s songs? A lot of the the headlines here are derived from lyrics, like the Judy Garland article right before this one.


      April 30, 2014 at 21:09

      • That’s what I assumed as well, but at the same time, I think Stephen’s kinda got a point. I’m not sure I’d go so far as to say it’s offensive per se, but I did wince a bit when I saw it, considering Kelly’s overwhelming notoriety. It’s just really hard to avoid reading it in a very particular context, even though I’m sure it was completely unintentional.


        April 30, 2014 at 23:44

    • I don’t see anything wrong (excuse me, “nothin’ wrong”) with that header, especially when it’s based off one of his lyrics like the Judy Garland article. And I say this even with R. Kelly’s notoriety in mind.

      Hell, you might as well say that this ENTIRE ARTICLE is offensive, considering the (quite laughable) overreaction it got from some commenters.

      Victor Dang

      May 1, 2014 at 13:01

    • HA HA HA love you XO


      May 2, 2014 at 09:55

  7. Getting old has serious drawbacks. On the other hand, I have no idea who R. Kelly is.


    May 1, 2014 at 13:49

  8. Anyone who doesn’t realize that Robert Kelly is not a rapper already has his 5 posts of opinion invalidated by virtue of being misinformed. It’s facts coupled with opinions that influence people. Uninformed opinion is as valid and meaningful as being a shithead column poser. Oops…I meant poster.

    Donald Cleveland

    May 5, 2014 at 15:28

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