R. Kelly said that although he and Jay-Z didn’t get along during the days of their mammoth collaboration, The Best of Both Worlds, he remains a huge Jay-Z fan and has no ill will toward the rap superstar.
Asked how he felt about Jay’s recent Best of Both Worlds styled collabo with Kanye West, Watch the Throne, Kelly was full of praise.
“Absolutely; huge fan,” Kelly told MTV News.
But he was quick to point out that he and Jay-Z got there first.
“We walked on the moon first, right?” he asked rhetorically.
Their split was well chronicled. It was a decade ago that they recorded the Best of Both Worlds, then did a followup called Unfinished Business. In 2004, they went out on the road for a hugely anticipated tour. But the clashing of the two superstars was rocky from the start, culminating in R. Kelly pulling out of an October 2004 show in Jay’s hometown, New York’s Madison Square Garden. From that day forward, things have never been the same. But R. Kelly has no regrets.
“I love a good marriage — I love love. Anything that works for me, anything that feels good to my soul, that feels like this is what I should do, I’m gonna do it,” he said of his collaborations with Jay and others. “I don’t care what it is, who it’s with. As long as it’s positive and it works for both parties, I’m with it.”
R. Kelly is back with a new album that shows the man’s love for music, his connection to the classics, to the history of blues and soul music. There are some artists who avoid outside influences when creating, but Kelly said he absorbed a bit of everything when he was creating his recently released Write Me Back LP. “Lil Wayne, Drake, I still listen to Jay’s stuff,” he said. “I listen to Trey Songz, I listen to some of everybody, man. Rihanna, Beyoncé. It’s so much talent out there.”