The Essential R. Kelly Covers 21 Years Of Hit Records



Contains hit collaborations with Notorious B.I.G., Sparkle, Ja Rule, and Cassidy - also historic collaborations with Ronald and Ernie Isley, Nas, Celine Dion, Ashanti, T.I. & T-Pain, Usher, and Keri Hilson

Available everywhere May 19, 2014, through RCA/Legacy


NEW YORK, April 22, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Spanning more than two decades of sheer R&B perfection, THE ESSENTIAL R. KELLY ( is the first collection to cover the three-time Grammy Award®-winning artist's entire major label recording career from 1991 ("She's Got That Vibe" with Public Announcement) to 2012 ("Feelin' Single").  The deluxe 35-track, double-CD set will be available starting May 19th through RCA/Legacy, a division of SONY MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT.

In the tradition of Legacy Recordings' top-selling Essential series, which has sold more than 20 million combined catalog sales worldwide to date, THE ESSENTIAL R. KELLY is a chronological history of the hit-making artist.  Adding critical perspective is a liner notes essay by senior editor at VIBE Magazine, Keith Murphy.

Headlining THE ESSENTIAL R. KELLY are an amazing 11 hits that went to #1 on the Billboard Hot R&B Singles and/or Hot 100 charts, comprising "Honey Love" – Radio Fade (1992), "Slow Dance (Hey Mr. DJ)" - Video Mix (1992), "Bump n' Grind" (1994), "You Remind Me Of Something" (1995), "Down Low (Nobody Has To Know)" featuring Ronald and Ernie Isley (1996), "I Can't Sleep Baby (If I)" - Radio Edit (1996), "I Believe I Can Fly" - Radio Edit (1996), "Be Careful" by Sparkle featuring R. Kelly (1998), "I'm Your Angel" - Radio Version duet with Celine Dion (1998), "I Wish" (2000), and "Step In The Name Of Love" - Remix (2002).

Beyond his litany of #1 hits, THE ESSENTIAL R. KELLY weighs in with an impressive additional 18 tracks that rose to Top 5 or Top 10 status.  They range from his 1991 chart debut "She's Got That Vibe" (with Public Announcement, his first vocal group) to 2009's "Number One," featuring Keri Hilson.  Among this grouping of Top 5's and Top 10's are such touchstones as 1993's "Sex Me (Part I)" - Street Radio Edit (his debut single under his own name and his first certified RIAA gold million-seller); 1994's "Your Body's Callin'"; 1999's "When A Woman's Fed Up"; 2001's "Feelin' On Yo Booty"; 2002's "Ignition" - Remix; 2003's "Thoia Thoing"; 2004's "Happy People" - Radio Edit; 2005's controversial "Trapped In The Closet (Chapter 1)"; and many more.

Packed with this lion's share of top-charted R&B and pop hit singles are original album versions, hard-to-find remixes, rare movie soundtrack cuts (several of them out of print), and career-defining collaborations.  THE ESSENTIAL R. KELLY is the source of several important "firsts":

  • The first collection to include his collaborations with Ronald and Ernie Isley (the #1 "Down Low"), Nas ("Did You Ever Think" - Remix Radio Edit), Celine Dion (the #1 "I'm Your Angel" - Radio Version), T.I. & T-Pain ("I'm A Flirt Remix" - Main Version), Usher ("Same Girl"), and Keri Hilson ("Number One");
  • The first collection to include his outside collaborations ('featuring R. Kelly') with The Notorious B.I.G. ("#!*@ You Tonight"), Sparkle (the #1 "Be Careful"), Ja Rule ("Wonderful," also featuring Ashanti), and Cassidy ("Hotel");
  • The first double-CD collection to gather three of R. Kelly's major movie soundtrack chart hits, namely the three-time Grammy Award®-winning "I Believe I Can Fly" - Radio Edit (from 1996's Space Jam), "Gotham City" - Remix (from 1997's Batman & Robin), and "The World's Greatest" - Radio Edit (from 2001's Ali).

It was 1998 when R. Kelly made Grammy Awards® history with "I Believe I Can Fly," the first R&B artist in 25 years to sweep three categories with one song, since the Tempta­tions at the 1973 awards (with "Papa Was a Rolling Stone").  At the 40th annual Grammy Awards® on February 25, 1998, "I Believe I Can Fly" won for Best Male R&B Vocal, Best R&B Song, and Best Song Written for a Motion Picture or Television.  Only three R&B artists' songs have achieved a rare triple-play Grammy® win since then: Alicia Keys with "Fallin'" (2001), Luther Vandross with "Dance With My Father" (2003), and Beyonce with "Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)" (2008). 

To date, R. Kelly has another 21 Grammy Award® nominations under his belt, 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).  Also to R. Kelly's credit, his Trapped In The Closet Chapters 6-12 package was nominated for the Best Long Form Music Video Grammy Award® for 2005; and the Trapped In The Closet Chapters 13-22 package was nominated for the Best Long Form Music Video Grammy Award® for 2007.  Most recently, iTunes made all 33 chapters available of the entire Trapped In The Closet video narrative. 

With some 78 chart singles as lead artist (and his name attached to more than 50 more chart single collaborations, plus dozens of guest appearances on albums), combined with an astounding 18 RIAA gold and platinum awards and over 54 million records sold, R. Kelly is far and away the best-selling R&B male artist of our time.  The point is under­scored in Joel Whitburn's authoritative Hot R&B Songs 1942-2010 where R. Kelly is ranked the #1 Artist Of the 1990s, and the #3 Artist Of 2000-2010. 

(Explicit version: RCA/Legacy 88765 44450 2;
Clean/edited version: RCA/Legacy 88765 44739 2)

CD OneSelections1. * She's Got That Vibe (Radio Edit) (A, #7 R&B, #59 Hot 100) 2. * Honey Love (Radio Fade) (A, #1 R&B, #39 Hot 100) 3. * Slow Dance (Hey Mr. DJ) (Video Mix) (A, #1 R&B, #43 Hot 100) 4. * Sex Me (Part I) (Street Radio Edit) (B, #8 R&B, #20 Hot 100) 5. Bump n' Grind (B, #1 R&B, #1 Hot 100) 6. Your Body's Callin' (B, #2 R&B, #13 Hot 100) 7. You Remind Me Of Something (C, #1 R&B, #4 Hot 100) 8. Down Low (Nobody Has To Know) (featuring Ronald and Ernie Isley) (C, #1 R&B, #4 Hot 100) 9. * I Can't Sleep Baby (If I) (Radio Edit) (C, #1 R&B, #5 Hot 100) 10. * I Believe I Can Fly (Radio Edit) (D & H, #1 R&B, #1 Hot 100) 11. #!*@ You Tonight by The Notorious B.I.G. featuring R. Kelly (E12. * Gotham City (Remix) (F, #9 R&B, #9 Hot 100) 13. Be Careful by Sparkle featuring R. Kelly (G, #1 R&B, #32 Hot 100) 14. When A Woman's Fed Up (H, #5 R&B, #22 Hot 100) 15. * Did You Ever Think (Remix Radio Edit featuring Nas) (H, #8 R&B, #27 Hot 100) 16. * If I Could Turn Back The Hands Of Time (Radio Edit) (H, #5 R&B, #12 Hot 100) 17. * I'm Your Angel (Radio Version) (Duet with Celine Dion) (H & I, #5 R&B, #1 Hot 100).
:  * indicates single master.

CD Two – Selections: 1. I Wish (J, #1 R&B, #14 Hot 100) 2. Feelin' On Yo Booty (J, #9 R&B, #36 Hot 100) 3. * The World's Greatest (Radio Edit) (K, #31 R&B, #34 Hot 100) 4. Ignition – Remix (L, #2 R&B, #2 Hot 100) 5. Thoia Thoing (M, #6 R&B, #13 Hot 100) 6. * Step In The Name Of Love - Remix (Radio Edit) (L, #1 R&B, #9 Hot 100) 7. Hotel by Cassidy featuring R. Kelly (N, #6 R&B, #4 Hot 100) 8. * Happy People (Radio Edit) (O, #7 R&B, #19 Hot 100) 9. Wonderful by Ja Rule featuring R. Kelly and Ashanti (P, #3 R&B, #5 Hot 100) 10. In The Kitchen (Q, #16 R&B, #91 Hot 100) 11. Trapped In The Closet (Chapter 1) (Q, #5 R&B, #22 Hot 100) 12. * I'm A Flirt Remix (Main Version) (featuring T.I. & T-Pain) (R, #2 R&B, #12 Hot 100) 13. Same Girl (Duet with Usher) (R, #4 R&B, #20 Hot 100) 14. Number One (featuring Keri Hilson) (S, #8 R&B, #59 Hot 100) 15. When A Woman Loves (T, #15 R&B, #93 Hot 100) 16. Love Letter (Radio Edit) (T, #13 R&B, #102 Hot 100) 17. Feelin' Single (U, #13 R&B) 18. * U Saved Me (Radio Edit) (O, #14 R&B, #52 Hot 100).
Note:  * indicates single master.

Album index:

A – from Born Into The 90's (Jive, originally issued January 1992, by R. Kelly and Public Announcement)
B – from 12 Play (Jive, originally issued November 1993)
C – from R. Kelly (Jive, originally issued November 1995)
D – from Music From And Inspired By The Movie Space Jam (Warner Sunset, originally issued November 1996)
E – from The Notorious B.I.G. album Life After Death (Bad Boy, originally issued March 1997)
F – from Music From And Inspired By The "Batman & Robin" Motion Picture (Warner Sunset, originally issued June 1997)
G – from the Sparkle album Sparkle (Interscope, originally issued May 1998)
H – from R. (Jive, originally issued November 1998)
I – from the Celine Dion album These Are Special Times (550 Music, originally issued November 1998)
J – from TP-2.COM (Jive, originally issued November 2000)
K – from the album Ali Original Soundtrack (Interscope, originally issued November 2001)
L – from Chocolate Factory (Jive, originally issued February 2003)
M – from The R. In R&B Collection: Volume 1 (Jive, originally issued September 2003)
N – from the Cassidy album Split Personality (J Records, originally issued March 2004)
O – from Happy People/U Saved Me (Jive, originally issued August 2004)
P – from the Ja Rule album R.U.L.E. (The INC Records, originally issued November 2004)
Q – from TP.3 Reloaded (Jive, originally issued July 2005)
R – from Double Up (Jive, originally issued May 2007)
S – from Untitled (Jive, originally issued December 2009)
T – from Love Letter (Jive, originally issued December 2010)
U – from Write Me Back (RCA, originally issued June 2012)

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SOURCE Legacy Recordings

For further information: Tom Cording,, 212.833.4448; Gabby Gibb,, 212.833.4597