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.

0

Comments

Add +

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.

 Buy Soulacoaster: The Diary of Me on Amazon
 Get Soulacoaster: The Diary of Me on your Kindle

You might also like

Authors share their best writing tips

We asked a number of present-day writers to share their advice for budding scribes.

Best New York places in literature (that you can still visit)

Connect with the Plaza Hotel, the Empire State Building and the Museum of Natural History through the eyes of great New York writers Great authors don’t just paint a picture of New York places, they have a way of making city sights burrow under your skin and remain there for life. Sadly, since the metropolis is always changing, many favorite New York places depicted in novels and stories will have been demolished and replaced by the time you’re ready to finally visit. Time Out New York picks some of New York’s iconic (and not so iconic) literary landmarks that can still receive a reader and all of their starry-eyed expectation. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger: The Museum of Natural History Oh, Holden Caulfield, don’t ever change. The young and disaffected narrator of The Catcher in the Rye wanders to a number of recognizable New York City places in his escape from the phonies at Pencey Prep, but perhaps none of them have changed as little over the years as the Museum of Natural History. “They were always showing Columbus discovering America, having one helluva time getting old Ferdinand and Isabella to lend him the dough to buy ships with, and then the sailors mutinying on him and all.” The lower reaches of the museum are probably lousy with some of the same artifacts that were collecting dust in Holden’s time; the “fuck you” graffiti he encounters might just still be visible. The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton: The Metropolitan Museum of Art Wharton’s Pulitz

Hot young adult books battle for your amusement

With Divergent and like-minded fiction series arriving in movie theaters, we make the franchises battle to the death for the title of the next Hunger Games All dystopian young-adult books—that is, everything that’s not John Green or a Twilight rip-off—are inevitably given the title of “the next Hunger Games” by their fans or their publishers. Not satisfied to let Divergent and every other title with a movie deal make it to the silver screen without adding our two cents, Time Out New York’s critics did some reading. We took on some of the best recent representatives and let them fight it out, Hunger Games–style, to see which young-adult books could survive a free-for-all brawl. Mouse over the covers to find out which series deserves to reach the cornucopia represented by the Hunger Games franchise below.As we are adults, and imagine you might be too, we read these books with adult sensibilities and didn’t pull punches. That’s to say, if you’re 14 and reading this, don’t listen to we hardened cynics. Just start reading. Most popular Book events Popular features in books Summer book readings and talks Prepare yourselves, bibliophiles, this summer is full of superb literary happenings Authors share their best writing tips We asked established writers to dispense wisdom to their aspiring counterparts. Best specialty bookstores in New York City Here's a handy list for everyone from literary fetishists to casual readers. You might also like Best West Village parks to read in

See more in books

Users say

0 comments