Royal Canoe review R. Kelly’s Black Panties

By Matt Peters (P) and Matt Schellenberg (S)

A track by track analysis:

Legs Shaking

P: “I’m going downtown. Do it til your legs are shaking” Hmmmm..

S: So downtown here would possibly be a metaphor…

P: He’s probably not going to Portage and Main.

Apparently this song is featuring Ludacris, but still haven’t heard him and we’re 3 minutes in. Is he just hanging out in the studio for the day?

S: He probably gets the bridge.

P: hahah. You’re right. Here he is.

Ludacris: ”Wait for it, wait for it.”

S: We’ve been waiting.


P: Umm, this song is actually called “Cookies”.

S: I hope it’s just about cookies.

P: Like actual cookies…

S: Yeah, actual cookies… He’s just super into sex and cookies.

P: Ooop. definitely not about actual cookies. Folks we’re 2/2 for cunnilingus-themed songs.

S: This is one of those songs that’s okay now, where there’s not really a song per se.. like somebody opened their garage band and pressed play.

P: Put everything in quarter time.

S: It’s kind of like this is just what was provided.. the hotel lobby of songs.

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Throw This Money on You

P: This is a nice intro. A little THX.

S: I feel like the IMAX is starting up for the new Killer Whale Documentary.

S: K, so what I’m gathering from this is that R. Kelly is having sex again.

P: I think that’s usually a pretty safe bet.

P: “All I want to do is throw money on you”. Wow.. Nothing says I appreciate you as a person like hucking a whole bunch money all over them.

S: I feel like all of the lyrics in this album and many albums, they are always presuming that thing that they want is a bit much for the other person. “I just wanna,” All I wanna.” like, this is just a really reasonable thing I’m presenting here, isn’t it.


P: Here’s the obligatory phone conversation interlude

P: I’s like a pocket dial mid-sex domestic dispute. Kind of confusing. It seems like R Kelly called his friend up, but then suddenly his friend is having an argument with his lady, who he then locks in the bathroom so he can listen to a new song over the phone that R Kelly wrote all about his aspirations to marry… wait for it…. the pussy.

Marry the P***y

P: Marry the Pussy, hmm. Well actually it’s P “star star star” y. I guess it could be anything

S: Like party.

P: Marry the Party – seems reasonable.

(song starts)

P and S: Nope, definitely Pussy.

S: Again with the “just wanna,” – he just has some very meagre requests.

P: He doesn’t have a lot of desires. they are just really strong.

P: It’s kind of touching at the end here.

S: Now I’m just imagining a human-sized vagina in a wedding dress.

You Deserve Better

P: Nothing like auto-tuning a conversation. He has one of the best R&B voices of all time and they are auto-tuning everything on this record including the talking bits.

S: I think 808’s, if we could have a complete moratorium.. Is that what it means when you’re done with them?

P: Yeah.

S: If I have to hear that snare once more…

P: I would replace every 808 hi-hat and snare with someone yelling, and prefer the song.

P: AAAAAAHHHHHH! I do deserve better!


S: If R Kelly is some sort of Andy Koffman-esque performance artist of our time these lyrics, on a meta level, are indeed genius.

P: Having watched Trapped in the Closet – all 40 episodes – you could make a case for that.

S: This is catchy.

P: It’s deep.

P: I prefer our world with R Kelly than without R Kelly – I just want that to be known right now.

P: Hey there’s Piano! They still make those.

S: Someone else produced this song, there’s a different producer I bet.

S: He’s doing a lot of promising, I feel like he has a lot of trust issues – asking for a lot of affirmation.

P: Its almost like he’s insecure maybe. I mean with all of the cars, and bling, and suits… who would’ve thought.

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All the Way:

P: This is entering the section of the record where there’s a lot of “feat” going on. This is featuring ex-Desiny’s Child member Kelly Rowland.

S: She’s one of the ones that didn’t make it?

P: Yup.

P: That bass is deep, I like this kind of groove.

S: See that bass was played by a human being.

P: That might be a drum set. Wow… Chimes central right there.

S: Every song is just climbing up… one note up, one note down.

P: Yup a semitone up and semitone down, what else do you want?

S: Yup.

P: Highs and lows man.

S: I mean “no such thing as a half mistake so baby girl we might as well” It’s like the John Donne poem “The Flea” where he states that because they’ve already been bitten by the same flea and their bodily fluids have intermingled it would be no different if they had sex. That was before John Donne was a devout Christian, he was just trying to get laid.

My Story:

S: So this is like a rags to riches thing.

P: Yea, like his Cinderella story.

S: 808’s are back.

P: …and are they ever back.

S: They are really back.

P: That’s so many of them.

S: This song sounds kind of unfinished.

P: Like they put a guitar on it and they wanted to make sure people could hear it so they just muted everything else.

S: Maybe it’s produced by the guitarist.

S: This song sucks.

P: Yeah, this song is not good.

P: You know what it is, I feel like with this style of production being so dominant lately: sort of ambient synths, half-time, too much reverb, bad d’n’b drum breaks… I’ve been stuck in a Mazda commercial for the last 8 years.

Right Back

S: How many more?

P: Oh God: 4.

One thing I’ve realized about R Kelly is: maybe a bit more of a singles artist.

S: This one has like a vaguely Christmas-meets-the-Twilight zone soundtrack kinda vibe. It’s like R Kelly has set up shop in the grand canyon with a bunch of elves.

P: Trapped in the Canyon with some weird demonic Santa. And all he got for Christmas was an auto-tune pedal. What ever you want to say about him he’s still an incredible R&B Singer.

S: Not that you would ever know.

P: You know he’s 46, hey? Still banging the club… oh I think we just had a moment of vulnerability. We’re about 36 minutes in and he just “paid for a funeral.”

S: He cracked up, Did you hear his voice crack up?.. but the auto-tune messed it up.

P: He’s praying now… he’s out of a job.

S: How is he out of a job?

P: No, it’s his friend.

Spend That:

P: Whoever started the whole, “Let some dude yell and say, ‘hey'” and kind of bark out inane shit in a mic and turn it down to an almost inaudible level and throw a bunch of delay on it… he needs to be talked to.

S: It’s kind of one thing that’s redeeming things about Rap music though, no one wants to hear that guy but they just feel bad for him or something. It’s like they’re all best friend duos and only one of them got famous.

P: Cause only one of them’s talented.

S: Yeah.

P: “Give Roger a mic, but…turn it down”.

S: With Tom Petty they signed only him, his entire band got fired… see? not with rap music.

P: Yeah.

S: You get a consolation prize.

P: A little thing called loyalty, thank you very much.

Crazy Sex:

P: This is Crazy Sex:

S: K.

P: This is definitely an experts opinion.

S: Yeah.

P: Like Wayne Gretzky if he wrote an essay called “Scoring Goals” you would read that.

S: Yeah.

P: R Kelly… “Crazy Sex.” R Kelly’s uniquely qualified to sing a song about crazy sex.

S: Naming a number of places where I think he was doing it – On the Dresser, on the bed, on the floor.

P: Like a comma-filled verse?

S: None of those places were super crazy.

P: I wouldn’t challenge him.. personally.

S: Yeah, I guess

P: “Let’s get different” I like that. “Lets act like we lost our mutha-fuckin minds making crazy faces in the mirror” Thank you R. Kelly for that lyric. Maybe lyric of the year.

Shut Up:

P: I think I know this keyboard sound, I think its from that Ween song, “Demon Sweat.” That’s a collaboration that would make me very happy. Ween (Feat. R Kelly).

We have our first chord change of the record… track 13.

S: There’s a kick and snare that… may have been recorded? at some point?

I just heard an acoustic sound.

P: Oh, on this song he is really giving it.

S: It’s a thank you to everyone.

P: This is an SNL credits moment… just letting everyone know, every other song is him just sort of following the trends, doing what the kids want, then this song is a “just so you know I still got it” moment. No auto-tune, just fluids everywhere.

S: He’s pretty much just naming all the insecurities he has and dispelling them with…”Shut up.” He’s having a rough time, he’s 46… he’s still doing it. He’s just gonna end this album with like “Guys, I’m still just trying, can you please get on board?”

P: …”And don’t forget that I’m a much better singer than any of you.”

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Royal Canoe also released an album recently, called Today We’re Believers. It’s light on 808s and heavy on live recorded drums.

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