Released: May 29th, 2007
Double Up is an intimidating album for listeners who are not familiar with R. Kelly’s brand of Hip Hop and R&B. At just over 76 minutes long, this album is a bit of a beast, and most of it focuses on R.Kelly and his stream-of-consciousness styled lyrics, which can be jarring for people not familiar with R. Kelly’s brand. For those of us that are familiar with Kelly’s musical style, or even welcome it, Double Up can be a gold mine of Rap bangers from the mid-2000’s, and R&B songs that are willing to address matters most songs would rather not talk about. Double Up is an album for people who, like R. Kelly, want to hear truth in the words being said.
Double Up has some of the bigger music stars from the time making guest appearances. Snoop Dogg, Usher, Kid Rock, Ludacris just to name a few, and none of their talents are wasted on this album, and their styles mesh well with the songs that R. Kelly placed them in as collaborators. In fact the biggest problems that R. Kelly faces with these songs, and with an album as long as Double Up, stem from his own musical and lyrical styles. R. Kelly’s lyrical choices, which are a result of the stream-of-consciousness style he uses, can lead to some interesting and emotional moments, or to some cringe worthy lyrical choices. The song Sex Planet in particular has some terrible metaphors and similies, referring to a womans vagina as a “black hole”, telling the imaginary woman that the song is directed to that they are going to visit “Uranus”, the lyrics on this song are particularly bad.
For all the terrible moments on Double Up, R. Kelly delivers with some equally good moments that give the listener reason to continue on listening. The song Same Girl featuring Usher (a mid-2000’s R&B match made in heaven), a duet where the two singers realize over conversation that they are dating the same woman is one of the best moments on the album. Listening to the two artists sing in the same way they would have a phone conversation is interesting, and they pull it off with their call and response, intonation of their voices, and the lyrics filled with first reactions and descriptions of the situation they find themselves in. Double Up has its fair share of bad moments, but the album as a whole is also filed with some exciting and emotional music.
Unfortunately, the main deciding factor in how much the listener likes Double Up is their own personal taste in music. For people that love rap, R. Kelly’s lyrical style might be too singing oriented, for people that love R&B R. Kelly’s lyrics might be too rough for them to digest, and for everyone else it must be determined whether the high moments on Double Up are worth making it through the low ones, which can seem pretty low. Such is the style of R. Kelly, music that most people can probably get behind, but lyrics that can leave some scratching their heads, and other people cheering for his brutal honesty.