On June 6, 2002, Kelly was indicted on 21 counts of having sexual intercourse with a minor. The charges, which were later reduced to soliciting a minor for child pornography, stemmed from a video tape allegedly showing Kelly having sex with a 14-year-old girl. To date, Kelly still faces 14 of the original charges. After a six-year delay, the trial officially began jury selection on May 9, 2008, and is ongoing.
Born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, Kelly was into music at an early age. The singer recalled at one time how his music teacher, Lena McLin, from Kenwood Academy High School in Chicago, noted his talent and told him that he'd would be a star and would eventually work with artists like Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder. Within a few years after he dropped out of school, Kelly began performing in street corners and in bus stations as a keyboard performer before he eventually formed a group with his friend Marc McWilliams. In 1989, Kelly and McWilliams formed the group MGM, who released their first single "Why You Wanna Play Me" on Tavdash Records.
Shortly afterwards, the group changed their name to Public Announcement and after being discovered by executives for Jive Records in 1991, signed a deal with the label and put out their debut album, Born Into the '90s in January 1992. One of the last albums to be released during the new jack swing period of the early nineties, the album yielded the hits "She's Got That Vibe", "Honey Love" and "Dedicated", all of which was led by Kelly. The group was billed as R. Kelly and Public Announcement essentially making the group backup members for Kelly rather than in a cohesive unit. After a successful tour ended in 1993, Kelly left Public Announcement to focus on a solo career.
Early solo career
In 1993, Kelly's debut solo album, 12 Play, was released in the fall of that year and yielded the singer's first number-one hit, "Bump N' Grind" and subsequent hit singles such as "Your Body's Callin'" and "Sex Me". Shortly after the release of 12 Play, Kelly began outside work as a record producer introducing urban audiences to young female singers such as Aaliyah and the duo Changing Faces. In 1994, he also produced a remix for Janet Jackson's 1994 hit, "Any Time, Any Place" and worked on "You Are Not Alone" for Michael Jackson for his 1995 album, HIStory. It was later determined by a Belgium right society called SABAM, that Kelly had plagiarized the melody for "You Are Not Alone" from the song's original 1993 composition by veteran songwriters-producers and publishers Eddy and Danny Van Passel. Kelly's solo success continued with the release of his second solo album, R. Kelly, popular for the singles "You Remind Me of Something" and "I Can't Sleep (Baby If I)". A duet with Ronald Isley of The Isley Brothers created a hit with "Down Low", partially due to the music video of the song which introduced fans to Isley's "Mr. Biggs" character.
In 1996, Kelly released one of his most successful singles with "I Believe I Can Fly", originally released on the Space Jam soundtrack. The single, which came up after the movie's star Michael Jordan asked Kelly to compose a song for the soundtrack, was composed while Kelly was on a tour with The Notorious B.I.G. "I Believe I Can Fly" reached No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100, and No. 1 on the UK pop charts. The single was a huge worldwide success and remains Kelly's signature song. Rolling Stone Magazine  named it as the 408th of its top 500 songs of all time. Building on the hype of "Fly", Kelly released a double album simply titled R. That album would become Kelly's biggest-selling album to date selling over eight million copies according to the RIAA and Soundscan and yielded the popular singles, "I'm Your Angel" (featuring Celine Dion) and "When a Woman's Fed Up". In between and afterwards, Kelly found some success with movie themes such as "Gotham City" from Batman Forever, "Bad Man" from Shaft and "The World's Greatest" from Ali. In 2000, Kelly released TP-2.com, which yielded the hits "I Wish" and the remix to "Fiesta", which included a collaboration with Jay-Z. Because of the success of that song and another Kelly/Jay-Z collaboration, "Guilty 'Til Proven Innocent", from Jay-Z's Dynasty album, it was announced in early 2002 that the duo collaborated on a joint album and tour titled The Best of Both Worlds. Due to controversy surrounding Kelly at the time, there was little promotion with the album when it was finally released and Kelly instead refocused his attention on his solo work as both a recording artist and producer.
During late 2001 and early 2002, Kelly began working on the follow up to his album TP-2.com entitled Loveland. The album was scheduled to be released in November 2002, but like Best of Both Worlds before it, heavy bootlegging led to it being delayed. The singer then retooled the whole album titled the Chocolate Factory did feature several of the bootlegged tracks - and many have cropped up elsewhere, as seen below. it also came as a six track bonus disc with the initial pressings of Chocolate Factory (Bootlegged tracks are listed in this footnote).
Chocolate Factory became a runaway success for Kelly, selling over three million copies due to the success of singles such as "Ignition", "Snake" and "Step in the Name of Love". Capitalizing on the success of the latter track, in 2004 Kelly released the ambitious two-disc set, Happy People/U Saved Me, with the former side covering the same basis and sound from "Step..." while focusing on inspirational material on the latter. That same year, Kelly performed the Star-Spangled Banner during the introduction of the world championship boxing fight between Bernard Hopkins and Jermain Taylor. His performance, which included a line of dancers doing the "stepping" routine and a pre-recorded instrumental track set to the sound of "Happy People", was met with a mixed reaction. In October of 2004, Kelly reunited with Jay-Z to do a follow-up to their Best of Both Worlds album shortly after announcing a tour to coincide with the project after the duo performed together during Jay-Z's "farewell" concert at Madison Square Garden a year before. The duo's Unfinished Business album was released and peaked at number-one on the Billboard chart.
Trapped in the Closet
In June 2005, Kelly released his next album, TP-3: Reloaded, which unlike Kelly's previous albums, didn't yield a successful pop hit, the most successful being a five-part "mini-opera" titled "Trapped in the Closet". "Closet", which, according to the singer, was inspired by Desperate Housewives, became an immediate hit when released as a single. After initial buzz from the first five chapters of the song, Kelly went on to produce up to twenty-two chapters of the "saga". All chapters have since been released to DVD. While other singles from Reloaded, including "Sex in the Kitchen" and "Playas Only", failed to ignite similar success, Kelly began to capitalize more and more on "Trapped in the Closet", introducing a so-called sixth chapter in a six-minute-long lip-synced performance at the MTV Video Music Awards. Kelly's performance also produced mixed reviews. "Closet" became a pop-culture sensation with several sketch comedy shows such as Saturday Night Live and MADtv making their own spoofs of Kelly's song. Its most famous parody, however, is arguably from the South Park episode of the same name in which a caricature of Kelly is shown interpolating the song changing the lyrics to reflect on the confusion surrounding why Tom Cruise and John Travolta were locked in Stan's closet. In 2007, Kelly released a DVD of his "Mr. Show Biz Presents: The Light It Up Tour" show, which had ended in Atlanta after a six-month tour on Mother's Day of 2006.
In May of 2007, Kelly released his eighth studio album Double Up on May 29, 2007, it had been leaked onto P2P networks on eight days earlier. Double Up included the hit single "I'm a Flirt (Remix)", featuring T.I. and T-Pain. The original track entitled "I'm a Flirt", also produced and co-written by R. Kelly, appeared as a hidden track on Bow Wow's The Price of Fame (2006). However, Kelly never gave the rights for the song to be released as a formal single, although it was played by many radio stations before the remix version. Thus, Kelly's first single from 'Double Up' was "I'm a Flirt (Remix)." Bow Wow was not featured on this version of the song. In Kelly's video for "I'm a Flirt (Remix)", he encourages fans to call a number which flashes up quickly on the screen. Fans who called the number were greeted by a recording of Kelly talking about his upcoming album and playing snippets of new songs in the studio. "I'm a Flirt (Remix)" was successful for Kelly after the failure of his previous album, TP-3: Reloaded. The song peaked at number 12 on the Billboard Hot 100. It also reached number one on the Billboard Hot Rap Tracks. The only other hit on the album, "Same Girl", was a duet between Kelly and Usher. The single peaked at number 20 on the Hot 100 and peaked at number four on the R&B chart. Other singles, however, such as "Rock Star" - featuring Ludacris and Kid Rock, "Sex Planet" and "Freaky in the Club" were only modest R&B charters. The latter two were not officially released as singles, neither was the title track featuring Snoop Dogg.
Kelly's other single from Double Up titled "Rise Up" was a tribute to the victims of the Virginia Tech massacre. The song was officially released as a digital download May 15, 2007. Proceeds were donated to the Hokie Spirit Memorial Fund, a fund that helped family members of the victims of the shootings. In 2008, Billboard reported that Kelly plans to release his newest album titled 12 Play: Fourth Quarter this summer. The album's current single, "Hair Braider", is currently No. 56 on Billboard's R&B chart.
According to the RIAA, R. Kelly is one of top 40 best selling artists in history, with sales of over 33 million albums in the United States.
Robert Sylvester Kelly was born on January 8, 1967 in Chicago, Illinois. Raised on Chicago's Southside projects, Kelly was the third of four children, born to his mother Joann Kelly, including two brothers Bruce and Kelly and a sister. Raised in a single-parent household, Kelly told reporters later that he was shot by a mugger at thirteen though his mother said that the story was an attempt to cover an attempted suicide. Kelly was also reportedly sexually abused by an adult male as a kid. Afterwards, Kelly turned to playing basketball and music to escape the harsh surroundings of his upbringing. Kelly's mother died after a long bout with cancer in 1993.
Marriages and children
In 1994, Kelly reportedly married his first wife, his protégé, R&B singer Aaliyah, whom he had known since she was 12 and had been spending three years to work on her debut, Age Ain't Nothing But A Number. According to VIBE magazine, a marriage document was printed showcasing the marriage certificate and noted that Aaliyah had lied about being eighteen when in truth she was only fifteen. The marriage was reportedly annulled soon afterward and neither singer confirmed the marriage rumors, dismissing them as lies. In 1996, Kelly married Andrea Lee, a dancer from his tour. Together the couple have three children, including two daughters and a son. According to Andrea, later in the marriage Kelly became abusive toward her. At one time she considered filing a restraining order against Kelly but recanted the decision. According to sources, the couple are said to be in the midst of a divorce.
Legal cases, lawsuits, and controversies
Other than his reported illegal marriage to fifteen-year-old Aaliyah, allegations of Kelly's sexual activity with underage girls go as far back as 1991, when several women claimed to have had sex with him. In 1994, rumors surfaced that Kelly had married fellow singer Alex Shipton, which both singers had denied. Two other sex suits by underage girls were settled and he denied any relationship with either of them, stating that the settlement was strictly to protect his emerging career. Another woman sued him claiming that he seduced her at age 16, got her pregnant, and forced her to get an abortion.
The tape scandal
None of the prior reports reached the level of publicity that followed the release of a video tape in February 2002 that allegedly showed Kelly and a 14-year-old daughter of an associate, and niece of Sparkle, a former Kelly protégé, engaging in sex. The tape, released by an unknown source, was sent to the Chicago Sun-Times, the newspaper that broke the story. While witnesses have identified the alleged victim, the girl and her parents have denied that she is the person shown on the tape. Kelly has also denied that he is the man in the video.
Bootleg copies of that tape became widely available on the black market and over file sharing networks. The tape was alleged to show numerous sex acts, including the girl being urinated upon. In June 2002, Kelly was indicted in Chicago for 21 counts of having sex with a minor, which were later reduced to soliciting a minor for child pornography, seven counts of videotaping the acts, and seven counts of producing child pornography. These charges came after viewing the tapes showed that there was no actual sexual intercourse involved.
In addition to the charges in Illinois, Kelly was being considered for further charges in Polk County, Florida on January 23, 2003 on 12 counts of possession of child pornography when authorities alleged to have found a digital camera containing 12 pictures of an underage female with three of them showing Kelly and her engaged in intercourse. These claims were never proven, and the charges were dropped after the search that led to them was ruled illegal.
In 2004, allegations emerged that among Kelly's tapes was one including gospel singer Deleon Richards, the wife of Detroit Tigers baseball player Gary Sheffield. There have been several other lawsuits against R. Kelly. A dancer sued for invasion of privacy because tapes of her private acts with him were circulated, alleging that he allowed distribution of copies without her consent. The dancer later alleged that the taping was without her consent and was not properly protected.
After a number of delays, on October 27, 2006 a Cook County, Illinois court hearing for pre-trial motions set the date of the actual trial to February 7, 2007. On the date of the trial Kelly's lawyer informed the court that his client was unable to attend because he was "undergoing surgery for a burst appendix." He also announced that Kelly was "in good condition and was expected to be released from the hospital later in the day." His attorney stated that Kelly (who pled not guilty) would be in attendance on the next trial date of February 21, 2007. It had previously been announced by the court that the videotape that allegedly shows Kelly performing sex acts with an underage girl will be publicly shown as evidence in the trial.
The trial, however, was delayed due to disputes over when the tape was made and to give medical recuperation time to the sitting judge following a fall resulting in broken bones. Later the case was set for a September 17 date.
Lawsuits by former associates
On October 4, 2006 former employee Henry "Love" Vaughn (who claims to have been a “mentor and guide” to Kelly since he was a teenager) has filed a lawsuit against Kelly accusing him of assault, false imprisonment, and a breach of contract that defrauded him of songwriting royalties. Vaughn claims Kelly and his associates dragged him to the basement of Kelly's Olympia Fields home on February 19, 2006 and Kelly “repeatedly struck him about the face and body with his fists." Vaughn also claims he gave Kelly the “concept” for the song “Steppin”. Kelly's spokesman declared that Vaughn is merely trying to extort money and told reporters that a police investigation found no evidence to Vaughn's assault allegations. Olympia Fields police confirmed that they had investigated the matter but would not comment beyond saying “we didn't file any charges in the case.”
Kelly has made questionable statements to the press in recent years. In 2003, he compared his legal troubles to Osama Bin Laden in an interview with Blender saying to the magazine, "Bin Laden is the only one who knows exactly what I'm going through". In the spring 2007 edition of XXL's Hip-Hop Soul magazine, while promoting his new album and one week before his latest court date, Kelly compared himself to Muhammad Ali, Marvin Gaye, Bob Marley and Martin Luther King, Jr;
"I'm the Ali of today. I'm the Marvin Gaye of today. I'm the Bob Marley of today. I'm the Martin Luther King, or all the other greats that have come before us. And a lot of people are starting to realize that now."
An R. Kelly spokesman suggested that the quote was taken out of context.
In late 2004, Kelly and Jay-Z went out on the Unfinished Business tour but the tour was plagued by a rivalry between the two stars and Kelly reportedly showing up late or not at all to gigs. The singer, according to Jay-Z, often complained that the touring lights weren't directed towards him and often left during the middle of sets. Another night during the concert, Kelly stayed in his tour bus for two hours before finally coming out to perform an uninspired set. Jay-Z eventually removed R. Kelly halfway through the tour, after a member of Jay-Z's entourage attacked R. Kelly with Mace or pepper spray. On April 25, 2006, it was confirmed that Jay-Z's younger cousin, Tyran (Ty-Ty) Smith confessed in a Manhattan Criminal Court to pepper-spraying R. Kelly and four of his bodyguards at Madison Square Garden in October 2004. Smith had been charged with assault, but was allowed to plead guilty to disorderly conduct for four days of community service. After the original incident, Jay-Z made Smith an executive of Def Jam Records. A Kelly rep said that Kelly's $16 million lawsuit against Jay-Z and Smith is close to a settlement. Kelly also launched a $75 million lawsuit against Jay-Z for removing him from the tour, which received a countersuit by Jay-Z which was thrown out by the judge.
In 2007, Kelly began his Double Up tour with Ne-Yo, Keyshia Cole and J. Holiday opening for him. Midway through the tour, Kelly kicked off Ne-Yo off the tour because, reportedly, of paperwork problems; however Ne-Yo alleges that the reason for the dropout was because audience members were cheering more for the younger Ne-Yo than for Kelly, who was the headliner. Stunned by the drop, Ne-Yo filed a lawsuit against Kelly in which the singer counter-sued. Kelly's Double Up tour was plagued by more problems, when in December of 2007, Kelly was admonished by the judge for not showing up to another preliminary court hearing on his case. The singer was threatened by the judge that he'll revoke Kelly's bond but the judge eventually decided not to though it didn't stop Kelly from being reprimanded. In 2008, Kelly released a rap track titled "I'm a Beast" in which he coarsely attacked his "haters". Many figured the song attacked either Ne-Yo, Fat Joe or Young Jeezy though Kelly himself never made it apparent who the song was directed to.
Illinois v. Kelly
Before Kelly's trial began on May 9 2008, the case had dragged on for five years without a trial and had originated with 21 counts of child pornography filed against him in 2002 for allegedly videotaping himself having sex with an allegedly underage girl. Seven of the charges were dropped due to misuse of the exact language in the law, though the singer still faced 14 of the charges. Kelly, 41, has pleaded not guilty to the charges and faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted. 
It has been announced by the Chicago Sun Times that the prosecution will present an adult woman to the case who will testify to have had sexual intercourse with Kelly and the alleged underage girl on the tape . After a defense motion to further delay proceedings was dismissed by the judge, the trial began on May 9 with the start of jury selection. News reports state the trial could last several weeks. Jury selection ended on May 15 with twelve official jurors - eight men and four women, and four alternates. Opening statements began on May 20 and the infamous sex tape was played during the first day of the prosecution's testimony.
* 1992: Born into the '90s
* 1993: 12 Play
* 1995: R. Kelly
* 1998: R.
* 2000: TP-2.com
* 2002: The Best of Both Worlds (with Jay-Z)
* 2003: Chocolate Factory
* 2003: The R. in R&B Collection, Vol. 1
* 2004: Happy People/U Saved Me
* 2004: Unfinished Business (with Jay-Z)
* 2005: TP-3: Reloaded
* 2005: Remix City Vol. 1
* 2007: Double Up
* 2008: 12 Play: Fourth Quarter
* 2002: Loveland
* 2006: Making Babies
* 2006: Musical Virus
1992 "She's Got That Vibe" (with Public Announcement)
1992 "Honey Love" (with Public Announcement)
1992 "Slow Dance" (with Public Announcement)
1993 "Dedicated" (with Public Announcement)
1993 "Sex Me (Parts I & II)"
1994 "Bump n' Grind"
1994 "Your Body's Callin'"
1994 "Summer Bunnies"
1996 "You Remind Me of Something"
1996 "Down Low (Nobody Has to Know)" (featuring The Isley Brothers).
1996 "Thank God It's Friday"
1996 "I Can't Sleep Baby (If I)"
1996 "I Believe I Can Fly"
1997 "Gotham City"
1998 "Half on a Baby"
1998 "Home Alone" (featuring Keith Murray)
1998 "I'm Your Angel" (with Céline Dion)
1998 "When a Woman's Fed Up"
1999 "Did You Ever Think"
1999 "If I Could Turn Back the Hands of Time"
2000 "Only the Loot Can Make Me Happy"
2000 "I Wish"
2001 "Feelin' On Yo Booty"
2001 "The Storm Is Over Now"
2002 "The World's Greatest"
2002 "Take You Home with Me (A.K.A. Body)" (with Jay-Z)
2002 "Honey" (with Jay-Z)
2003 "Snake" (featuring Big Tigger)
2003 "Step in the Name of Love"
2003 "Thoia Thoing"
2004 "Happy People"
2004 "U Saved Me"
2004 "Big Chips" (with Jay-Z)
2005 "In the Kitchen"
2005 "Trapped in the Closet"
2005 "Playa's Only" (featuring The Game)
2005 "Slow Wind"
2005 "Burn It Up" (featuring Wisin & Yandel)
2007 "I'm a Flirt (Remix)" (featuring T.I. & T-Pain)
2007 "Same Girl" (with Usher)
2007 "Rock Star" (with Ludacris & Kid Rock)
2007 "Sex Planet"
2007 "Freaky In The Club"
2008 "Hair Braider"
* 2005: Trapped in the Closet (1-12)
* 2007: Trapped in the Closet (13-22)
* Best R&B Song ("I Believe I Can Fly")
* Best R&B Male Vocal Performance ("I Believe I Can Fly")
* Best Original Song from A Soundtrack ("I Believe I Can Fly")
* (all were won in 1997)