Rolling Stone - 12/25/03, p.107
Included in Rolling Stone's "50 Best Albums of 2003"
Rolling Stone - 2/6/03, p.613 stars out of 5
- "...As a singer, songwriter and producer, he's at the top of his game..."
Entertainment Weekly - 2/28/03, pp.77-78
"...A collection of the sort of steamy, silky slow jams at which Kelly...has always excelled..." - Rating: B-
Vibe - 4/03, pp.173-44 discs out of 5
- "...R. Kelly has always walked the line between sinner and saint. This time, however, we see the stumbles and glimpse one man's weaknesses and human frailties..."
Mojo (Publisher) - 5/03, p.1004 stars out of 5
- "...CHOCOLATE FACTORY seems positively inspired....An impressively varied opus..."
Personnel includes: R. Kelly (vocals); Donnie Lyle (guitar, bass); Rodney East (keyboards); Henry Love (congas); Christina DeLeon (background vocals); Ja Rule, Ronald Isley, Big Tigger, Fat Joe.
Recorded at Rockland Studios, Chicago, Illinois.
CHOCOLATE FACTORY was nominated for the 2004 Grammy Award for Best Contemporary R&B Album. "Step In The Name Of Love" was nominated for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance.
Personnel: Donnie Lyle (guitar, keyboards); Gregg Landfair (guitar); Percy Bady, Rodney East, Kendall D. Nesbitt (keyboards); Henry Love (congas); Joe Donatello, Abel Garibaldi, Andy Gallas, Ian Mereness (programming); Deatta Staples, Kim Johnson (background vocals).
Audio Mixers: Abel Garibaldi; Peter Mokran; R. Kelly; Serban Ghenea; Tony Maserati ; Ian Mereness.
Recording information: Chicago Recording Company, Chicago, IL; Record Plant, Los Angeles, CA; Rock Land Studios, Chicago, IL; Soup Can Music, Harper Woods, MI; Vanguard Studios, Oak Park, MI.
Unknown Contributor Roles: The Soul Children; Walt Whitman & the Soul Children of Chicago .
Arranger: R. Kelly.
In an effort to distract himself from the myriad post-millennial legal woes dogging him, R. Kelly retreated to the studio where in true fashion, he wrote, sang, produced, and arranged his sixth album CHOCOLATE FACTORY. In trying to escape from his personal problems, Kelly succeeded in coming up with a lengthy outing infused with the kind of slow soul that brings to mind great names like Al Green and Marvin Gaye. The laid-back harmonies and testimonial fervor of "Forever" scream Gamble & Huff-produced Stylistics, light funk beats propel "You Knock Me Out," and the remix of "Step In the Name of Love" finds the Chicago native lifting Gaye's phrasing from the "What's Goin' On" era and pumping it into this mid-tempo jam.
Breaking up this solo slow-jam fest are guest shots by Ja Rule (an embattled "Been Around the World"), Ronald Isley (the skit-song "Showdown"), and Fat Joe (the Latin-pop-flavored "Who's That".) Although CHOCOLATE FACTORY could stand a bit of trimming, its musical essence reflects a rich talent whose personal travails could never negate anything he might be able to bring to the creative table.