Review: Soulacoaster: The Story of Me by R. Kelly
Freaky though the R&B giant's life may be thus far, Kells's memoir leaves us wanting more.
Wed Aug 8 2012
Time Out Ratings<strong>Rating: </strong>3/5
By R. Kelly. Smileybooks, $30.
Few contemporary pop stars baffle music critics and cultural commentators as thoroughly as R. Kelly, whose weird and wonderful reign in R&B now spans the better part of two decades. How can the man who penned “I Believe I Can Fly” also produce lyrics such as “Girl, I got you so wet, it’s like a rain forest / Like Jurassic Park, except I’m your sex-a-saurus”
At the very least, the singer’s much-delayed, at times perfunctory, memoir should lay this tired line of questioning to rest. On one page, he’s waxing nostalgic about hiding behind a drum kit to watch his mother belt out “Midnight Train to Georgia” in a nightclub on Chicago’s South Side. On the next, he’s riddled with shame after being forced to take Polaroids of an older couple having sex in his house. You don’t need a psych degree to see how these experiences could inspire both the old-school soul of “Love Letter” and the bizarro profligacy of “Feelin’ on Your Booty.”
The stranger-than-fiction quality of Kelly’s childhood continues into his early singing career, but the book begins to lose steam shortly thereafter. Some anecdotes—e.g., Biggie being moved to tears as Kells composes “I Believe I Can Fly” in a hotel lobby— are too good to fail, but other sections suffer from wooden storytelling, not to mention egregious omissions—fans searching for details on his controversial relationship with Aaliyah should stick to dark corners of the Internet. Perhaps there’s another, juicier volume to come. In between the forthcoming Black Panties and the next cycle of “Trapped in the Closet,” we wouldn’t be surprised if he knocked one out for the hell of it.
R. Kelly reads at Barnes & Noble Tribeca Fri 10.
You might also like
In New York, even the most homebound of bookworms make the trek to readings, talks and literary happenings when their favorite authors and writer friends have their moments in the spotlight. From fiction writers taking risks to sexy poets purring their verses, here are some of the best places to hear spoken words. Eat, Drink and Be Literary This series of civilized yet casual evenings features dinner, wine and a reading from a noteworthy writer, followed by a moderated Q&A about the author's creative process. Franklin Park Reading Series Notable authors spin yarns in this Crown Heights series, which is curated by Penina Roth. The How I Learned Series Blaise Allysen Kearsley stuffs this hip, energetic evening of readings with writers, comics and bloggers, each of whom recounts a story that’s tied to a specific lesson. The Poetry Brothel This interactive performance series presents a literary cathouse, where male and female “poetry whores” provide private readings behind closed curtains. For discounted entry, join the group's mailing list at thepoetrybrothel.com. Selected Shorts Though the much-loved series creator Isaiah Sheffer passed away in 2012, guest hosts such as B.D. Wong have been stepping in to help this excellent series continue to take flight. Celebs and notable New Yorkers read favorite short stories, old and new, which are later broadcast on PRI. Sunday Salon Nita Noveno began this reading series, which has also taken place in Chicago and Nairobi, in 2002. Steamb
Write your own review