Real name: Robert Sylvester Kelly
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R. Kelly (born Robert Sylvester Kelly on January 8, 1967 in Chicago, Illinois) is an American urban R&B singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer, and occasional rapper. He first appeared on the music scene as the founder and lead singer of Public Announcement whose smooth mixture of hip-hop beats, soul, and funk propelled the group's 1992 debut album Born Into the '90s to platinum status. After leaving the group in 1993, he became one of the top-selling musical acts of the nineties.
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 childhood friend, 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.Main article: Trapped in the Closet
Kelly had a pop hit with rapper Ja Rule and singer Ashanti titled "Wonderful." He released a new album titled TP-3: Reloaded in August 2005, which heralded back to his classic 12 Play period. In April 2005, Kelly released the long-awaited "In the Kitchen", well-known among fans attending his live shows. The song was intended to be the album's lead single and received major radio airplay for a couple of months, but Kelly eventually decided to leave it as a buzz single after the song's failure to top the R&B charts. It was quickly followed just weeks later with his "Trapped In The Closet" mini-opera, which rapidly climbed, and then quickly vanished from, the R&B and urban charts nationwide.
Bootleg copies of that tape became widely available on the black market and over file sharing networks. The tape showed 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. Kelly still faces 14 of the charges.
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. Kelly will go on trial September 17, 2007, facing child pornography charges.