NEW YORK (AP) — R. Kelly sings about his troubles and battles in a new 19-minute song, addressing sexual abuse claims against him that have put a screeching halt on his career.
The song, “I Admit,” was posted to Soundcloud on Monday. The track begins with the lyrics, “I admit I have made some mistakes/And I have some imperfect ways.”
R. Kelly gets personal throughout the track, singing that he likes “all the ladies, that’s both older and young ladies,” following it up with: “But tell me how they call it pedophile because that (expletive) is crazy.”
The embattled entertainer has long been accused of behavior that has ranged from questionable to criminal. He was accused of child pornography after a widely circulated videotape appeared to show him having sex with, and urinating on, a teenage girl. He was acquitted of all charges in 2008 and continued to rack up hits and sell out stadiums around the country.
On “I Admit,” he sings that he’s “not convicted, not arrested, dragged my name in the dirt/All this work to be successful when you abandon me ’cause of what you heard.”
He calls out Steve Harvey, John Legend and Tom Joyner for “tearing down another brother.” I never thought it would come to this being the most disrespected artist,” he sings. “I admit I love Steve Harvey, John Legend and Tom Joyner they doin good in their lives right now why would they want to tear down another brother.”
R. Kelly is one of pop music’s best-selling artists and his hits include “Ignition,” ”I Believe I Can Fly,” ”Step in the Name of Love” and “Bump N’ Grind.” He has also written hits for artists ranging from Celine Dion to Michael Jackson to Lady Gaga. While he’s written classic love songs and even gospel music, he is defined by sexually explicit songs such as “Feelin’ on Yo Booty,” ”Your Body’s Calling Me,” ”Sex Me” and even more explicit fare.
In 2002, R. Kelly released a song about his troubles in similar fashion with “Heaven I Need a Hug,” a response to his critics at the time. “Media, do your job/But please just don’t make my job so hard,” he sang on the song.
On the new song, he says he was sexually abused as a child, singing “a family member touched me” and revealing he was “so scared to say something, so I just put the blame on me.”
He also says that he does not own his music, that he dropped out of school and that he “couldn’t read the teleprompter when the Grammy’s asked me to present (an award).”
“I Admit” was not released on Sony’s RCA Records, where R. Kelly is signed. The label said it had no comment about the song. R. Kelly posted a link to the song Monday with the caption: “Today is the day you’ve been waiting for.”
Despite having a plethora of hit songs, he says he had to borrow money from his record label to “put food on the table.”
“I was told I had to sell my cars, I was told I couldn’t get a loan/Said I owed 20 million to the IRS and they were coming to get my home,” he sings.
In April, R. Kelly’s concert in his hometown of Chicago was canceled around the time the Times’ Up campaign took aim at the singer over allegations he sexually abused women. Weeks later, Spotify removed his music from its playlists, citing its new policy on hate content and hateful conduct.
“Now the truth in this message is I’m a broke (expletive) legend/The only reason I stay on tour is ’cause I gotta pay my rent,” he sings on the new track.
In May, a woman filed a lawsuit against R. Kelly, accusing the singer of sexual battery, knowingly infecting her with herpes and locking her in rooms for punishment.
“They’re brainwashed, really?/Kidnapped, really?/Can’t eat, really?/Real talk, that (expletive) sound silly,” he sings.
R. Kelly says in the song he had a recent conversation with talk show host Wendy Williams, who asked him about the late singer Aaliyah, who was 15 when she married a 27-year-old R. Kelly in 1994. The marriage was later annulled.
“(Wendy) said, ‘What about Aaliyah said?,’ R. Kelly sings, responding with: “Love.”
“She said, ‘What about the tape?’/I said hush,” he continues. “I said my lawyer said ‘don’t say noth’/But I can tell you I’ve been set up.”
R. Kelly also calls out journalist Jim DeRogatis, who has written extensively for The Chicago Sun-Times and Buzzfeed about the singer’s sexual abuse claims. “To Jim DeRogatis, whatever your name is/You been tryna destroy me for 25 whole years,” he sings.
“BuzzFeed News stands by every word we’ve reported in the last year, just as The Chicago Sun-Times has stood by every word I reported there since the first story Abdon Pallasch and I broke in December 2000,” DeRogatis said in a statement Monday.