Video Proof That R. Kelly Can Write a Song Out of Anything

Slate's Culture Blog
Nov. 19 2013 4:23 PM

Proof That R. Kelly Can Write a Song Out of Anything

If you’ve ever been to an R. Kelly show, you probably know he can improvise a sexy, funny slow jam out of just about any situation. When I saw him in Chicago over the summer, he made a whole song out of the fact that he needed a towel (sample lyric: “Can I get a towel?/ To wipe my face”), and he got the whole crowd to sing along.

But are these songs really always improvised? In the case of “Can I Get a Towel?” at least, apparently not. To see once and for all whether he could really whip up that kind of R&B gold on the spot, Rolling Stone gave Kelly four random phrases and asked him to turn them into instant hits. While he may have peaked early in the experiment with “Sex Dolphin” (complete with dolphin sounds), he lived up to his claim: “I know how to put it into a melody and make it comical, but sexual at the same time,” the singer-songwriter told Rolling Stone. “With my gift, I can pretty much write a song out of anything.”

Forrest Wickman is a Slate staff writer. 

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