Robert Sylvester Kelly (born January 8, 1967), best known by the stage name R. Kelly, is an American R&B singer-songwriter, rapper, and record producer.
R. Kelly debuted with the group Public Announcement in 1992 with the album “Born Into the '90s” that included two singles that reached #1 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart "Honey Love" and "Slow Dance (Hey Mr. DJ).”
Kelly made his solo debut in 1993 with “12 Play,” including the gold-certified single "Sex Me" and another #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles and R&B charts, "Bump n' Grind.” R. Kelly also became a producer and songwriter for other artists, including Aaliyah and Michael Jackson.
In 1995, R. Kelly released his second solo album “R. Kelly,” which debuted on the top of the Billboard 200 Albums chart. Like “12 Play” before it, “R. Kelly” was certified 5x platinum and had two singles hit #1 on the R&B chart, "You Remind Me of Something" and "Down Low (Nobody Has to Know),” with the latter featuring The Isley Brothers.
R. Kelly recorded two singles for the soundtracks of two popular movies, "I Believe I Can Fly" for the movie “Space Jam” in 1996 and "Gotham City" for “Batman & Robin” in 1997. "I Believe I Can Fly" reached #2 on the Hot 100 and won three Grammy Awards in 1998.
Kelly's bestselling album was his 1998 effort “R.,” which went 7x platinum. “R.” went to #1 on the R&B albums chart as his third album to do so, and went #2 on the Billboard 200 chart. It spawned Kelly's second #1 Hot 100 hit, "I'm Your Angel," a duet with Celine Dion. The album also contained the #1 R&B hit, "I Believe I Can Fly," which was released two years earlier on the “Space Jam Soundtrack.”
He also began expanding his musical repertoire into hip hop. Kelly sang the hook on The Notorious B.I.G.'s posthumous single "Lovin' You Tonight." Rapper Keith Murray made a guest performance on the single from “R.” "Home Alone,” and R. Kelly made a guest performance on Puff Daddy's 1999 single "Satisfy You,” which went to #2 on the Hot 100 and #1 on the R&B chart.
In 2000, R. Kelly released another #1 album, “TP-2.com,” with singles "I Wish" and "Fiesta,” the latter featuring rappers Jay-Z and Boo & Gotti.
R. Kelly released two collaboration albums with Jay-Z, “The Best of Both Worlds” in 2002 and “Unfinished Business” in 2004. Although both albums went platinum, their singles charted only modestly.
R. Kelly released both an album “Chocolate Factory” and compilation “The R. in R&B Collection, Vol. 1” in 2003. “Chocolate Factory” contained the hip hop-influenced singles "Thoia Thoing" and "Snake" featuring Big Tigger and the slow jam "Step in the Name of Love.” All these singles reached the Top 20 on the Hot 100.
In 2004, R. Kelly released his second double album “Happy People/U Saved Me.” The next year, R. Kelly released “TP-3: Reloaded,” which included "Playa's Only" featuring rapper The Game, "Burn It Up" featuring reggaeton duo Wisin & Yandel, and the epic series of songs "Trapped in the Closet."
Sales of his albums and popularity of his singles had been declining at this point, as R. Kelly was charged with child pornography after a videotape leaked showing someone alleged to be Kelly having sex with an underage girl. He was later acquitted of all charges.
“TP-3: Reloaded” peaked at #1 on the Billboard 200 and was certified platinum.
In 2007, he released “Double Up,” which included the duet with Usher "Same Girl" and a single that featured Ludacris and Kid Rock, "Rock Star.” The album again peaked at #1 on the Billboard 200 and was certified platinum.
In 2009, R. Kelly released an album “Untitled,” including the single featuring Keri Hilson, "Number One" that made #59 on the Hot 100 and #8 on the R&B chart. The album peaked at #4 on the Billboard 200.
In 2010, he released “Love Letter,” featuring the single “When a Woman Loves” which peaked at #16 on the R&B chart. The album went to #6 on the Billboard 200.