This past September, R. Kelly announced that he'd be releasing his 12th album, Black Panties, in November, but recently pushed back the release date to December 10th. The only song from the album to come out so far is an autobiographical cut that features 2 Chainz titled "My Story." The track contains four minutes of catchy, optimistic R&B, a "silken trap groove" — as Rolling Stone's track review says — reminiscent of previous Kelly tracks like "Ignition" but with a slightly harder edge. It was a return-to-form for the singer, whose two most recent albums, 2010's Love Letter and 2012's Write Me Back, drew heavily from the influence of classic soul.
On Black Panties, he says that he wanted to make the kind of record that continues the sound he started in 1993 on his debut album, 12 Play. "I love that I can play around with all types of music," he tells Rolling Stone. "I did Love Letter and Write Me Back and those were fun albums for me to do, because they took me back to music I love. But I wanted to change lanes with this new album and remind people of the TP-2.com and 12 Play style of music I can do — 'Kellz music!'"
"I like that I can change lanes and do all different kinds of music," he adds. "Fans can never accuse R. Kelly of doing the same thing, I keep mixing it up."
Additional reporting by Patrick Doyle