Tuesday, June 09, 2009
If you spent your teens smoking low quality council estate hash and watching MTV and The Cable Jukebox you really can't help but have a lingering fondness for jiggy R'n'B of the R Kelly, Jodeci and Ginuwine model. In those days R Kelly was just a libido hooked up to a vocoder. Obviously he's matured since then, but only in the sense that he's now much, much older than the girls he's singing about. Out of court settlements notwithstanding, it's clear that Kels has more in common in with Nabokov than might be at first apparent.
A chance conversation with a reprobrate friend of mine led me to this. Don't worry, it won't have the special branch round to confiscate your computer, but it is nonetheless deeply appalling: a musical written and starring disgraced hitmaker Jonathon King. It's basically a long self-indulgent and partly sung rebuttal of the charges of sexual abuse brought against him by the media. King is a a deeply unsympathetic piece of work, but boy, can he write a catchy tune.
R Kelly wrote the hip-hopera during the dark days when Sparkle allegations first came to light and he was dropped from the Jay-Z tour. The turnaround on King's musical was just as short, and with King playing all the parts, and the camera often fixed, it's a lonely man's project. I also sincerely doubt that he paid anyone to come up with those animations.
Creativity is always attached to shame. Artists are the delinquent infants who won't throw away what they've just 'created'. There's a compromise that takes place between what the artist wants to expose and what the internalised society, whose influence manifests as shame, will allow.
By doing the one thing that even Prince probably wouldn't do, both these men have arrived in an extraordinary place. A land beyond shame.
Just watch the first minute of Vile Pervert the Musical and you'll see exactly what I mean.