Rolling Stone - 10/30/03, p.964 stars out of 5
- "...In an era of hip-hop excess, Chicago's R. Kelly held a torch for vintage soul, updated for the streets..."
Initial pressings of THE "R." IN R&B COLLECTION VOL. 1 included a bonus disc featuring "Bump N' Grind - (Old School mix)", "Down Low (Nobody Has To Know) - (Live To Regret It mix - Blame It On The Mo)", "I Can't Sleep Baby (If I) - (remix)", "Gotham City - (remix)", "If I Could Turn Back The Hands Of Time".
Personnel: R. Kelly (vocals, various instruments); Ronald Isley, Wyclef Jean, Celine Dion (vocals); Jay-Z, Boo, Gotti (rap vocals); Ernie Isley, Donnie Lyle (guitar); Bobby West, Rodney East, Jim Slattery (keyboards); Peter Mokran (programming); Joan Collaso, Cheryl Wilson (background vocals); Public Announcement.
Producers include: R. Kelly, Timmy Allen, Tone, Poke, Wyclef Jean.
Recorded between 1991 & 2003. Includes liner notes by Rob Marriott.
Personnel: R. Kelly (vocals, keyboards, programming); Ronald Isley (vocals); Gotti (rap vocals); Donnie Lyle, Ernie Isley, Keith Henderson, Bobby Broom, Gregg Landfair (guitar); Steve Skinner (keyboards, drum programming); Lafayette Carthon, Loris Holland (keyboards, background vocals); Bobby West, Jim Slattery, Percy Bady, Rodney East, Kendall D. Nesbitt (keyboards); Allan "Byrd" Tatum (programming, background vocals); Abel Garibaldi, Peter Mokran, Timmy Allen, Tony Black, Andy Gallas, Ian Mereness (programming); Jeff Bova (keyboard programming); Mario Winans, Mr. Lee (drum programming); Cheryl Wilson, Troy Bright, Johnny Rutledge, Yvonne Gage, Robert Bowker, Jeffrey Morrow, Joan Walton, Rob Trow, Anthony Ransom, Diva Gray, Elisabeth Withers, Fonzi Thornton, Lisa Lougheed, Robert Moe, Stevie Robinson, Dennis Collins , Nancey Jackson, Paulette McWilliams, Spencer Washington, Tawatha Agee, Ayuana George, Cathy Richardson (background vocals).
Audio Mixers: Chris Trevett; Humberto Gatica; Jeff Vereb; Peter Mokran; R. Kelly; Richard Travali; Serban Ghenea; Tony Maserati ; Ian Mereness.
Liner Note Author: Rob Marriot.
Recording information: Battery studios, Chicago, IL; Chicago Recording Company, Chicago, IL; Cove City Sound Studios, NY; Platinum Sound studios, New York, NY; Right Track Recording, New York, NY; Rock Land Studios, Chicago, IL; Soup Can Music, Harper Woods, MI; Studio 56; Studio Morin-Heights; The Chocolate Factory, Chicago, IL; The Dream Factory; The Hit Factory, New York, NY; The Studio, Philadelphia, PA; United Sound Systems, Detroit, MI; Van Guard Studios, Oak Park, MI.
Author: R. Kelly.
Director: Percy Bady.
Unknown Contributor Role: Omar Gilbert.
Arranger: R. Kelly.
It should not be forgotten (and from the overwhelming sales of CHOCOLATE FACTORY, it clearly hasn't) that R. Kelly is the master of hip-hop-infused love songs, the sultriest of swinging R&B seducers of the 1990s and beyond. The Chi-town crooner scored two number one hits and absolutely ruled the R&B charts when he first popped up in 1992 with his brand of honey-coated love. All of his hits are present on THE "R." IN R&B COLLECTION VOL. 1, backed by five remixes on the limited-edition bonus disc, including a Delfonics-style reconfiguring of "Bump N' Grind."
Kelly's greatest charm lies in his overt sexuality, coming right out with "Sex Me," or saying he can't see "nothing wrong with a little bump n' grind," ever flashing a coy smile. However, he truly cemented himself as a superstar when he recorded the inspirational (and chaste) "I Believe I Can Fly" for the Michael Jordan-with-cartoons movie, SPACE JAM, and followed that trick up with a number one duet with Celine Dion. Kelly has the most bewitching tenor and the ability to commandingly wrap it around any song, and this greatest-hits package is the perfect reminder of that talent.