In the Basement of a SOUL Childs Mind: The Extended Short Story

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To be more hornier. Your hormones are up more than they would normally be. Mine was. And do you think that set you on a path that you kept on? In a lot of ways, absolutely. I think so.

And now here we are. There are no particularly easy ways to ask a man about his alleged relationships with underage girls, but at least the story of R. Kelly and Aaliyah offers a reasonably direct way in. Soon after his initial success, he began writing and producing songs for other artists. As he explains it to me, it wasn't some big plan:. I was making my own records and doing all the music—I didn't even know that that meant producing.

Then when I found out I could do that, I didn't just want to make myself great, I wanted to make others great. One of the first artists he would produce, and one of his big early successes, was his manager's teenage niece, Aaliyah. In Kelly's case it was They appeared together in interviews and videos. Then Vibe magazine printed what appeared to be a marriage certificate they had discovered that showed Kelly and Aaliyah had been married in Rosemont, Illinois, on August 31, Though she was 15, the certificate stated that she was The marriage reportedly was formally annulled some months later, Aaliyah and Kelly never worked together again, and they were never seen together after this period.

Aaliyah died in a plane crash after a video shoot in the Bahamas when she was Neither Kelly nor Aaliyah, before her death, has ever publicly confirmed these details, but their truth has never been credibly challenged; even in the Lifetime channel's carefully sanitized Aaliyah biopic, her father threatens to have Kelly charged with statutory rape. The fullest version of what may have happened—and the most convincing one, for all its incidental detail and accidental nuance—is in a rambling memoir by a man named Demetrius Smith, who worked in various capacities for Kelly before and after he became famous, until they had a falling out.

The week of the marriage, Smith recounts being in Miami on tour with Kelly, and how Kelly explained that he had received a distraught phone call from Aaliyah, saying she had run away from home, believing she was pregnant. Smith says that Kelly was then given some specious advice—that he could protect himself from the legal ramifications of the situation by marrying her. Smith's account of what happened next: During a break in the tour, Smith and Kelly flew together to Illinois; Smith procured a fake state ID for Aaliyah from a friend in the Public Aid office, and they got a backup ID through someone they knew at Federal Express.

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That night, after the ceremony in a suite at a Sheraton hotel, Kelly and Smith flew back to Miami to resume the tour. As complicated as the full story may be, the situation, as it reflects on Kelly now, is fairly simple. He either was or was not married to, and in a sexual relationship with, a year-old girl. If he wasn't, why not just say so?

What possible reason could there be for refusing to? I heard first of all this soft voice, but very…a lot of charisma. And I saw her as a star the minute I heard her sing and dance.

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Saw her dance. She wasn't the greatest dancer, but the dance moves she was doing were different than the other dancers that I've seen on television. How would you describe that? Deep friends. As far as we both loved music and wanted to be successful. It was just so much in common with each other.

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And these are difficult questions but would you say you were in love with her? I would say I loved 'liyah. I was in love with my grandfather, you know. But yeah, I would say I was in love with Aaliyah just like I was in love with anybody else. But in a different, friend type of way. And she was in love with you? I would say that. As you know, people know that there was a wedding ceremony and you got married. Out of respect for Aaliyah, and her mother and father who has asked me not to personally. But I can tell you I loved her, I can tell you she loved me, we was very close.

We were, you know, best best best best friends. But here's what seems difficult from the outside. Sadly, Aaliyah can't speak for herself, and people have what they think is a very clear idea of the situation—that the two of you got married, that you were having a sexual relationship. Right now, that's the record as far as people are concerned. Those are the facts. So you not talking about it doesn't feel like it's protecting her or respecting her, it just feels like it's protecting you.

You know, I tell you this: I know Aaliyah's not here and can't speak for herself, but there was a time that she was plenty here, after that rumor and all of that stuff started. Plenty grown. She was 22 and could speak for herself. Her mother, her father, anybody else, could speak and say whatever they wanted. But with the documentary evidence, it doesn't seem an unclear situation.

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I'm trying to understand your life, and if you explained the real situation, it would maybe make people understand better than the version they have at the moment. Sometimes you have to sacrifice yourself in a way to respect someone else's wishes, and to respect someone else's passing…. I'm still successful, and I've got an album out now, I'm gonna move on after this interview and go to the next interview and do another interview, and these questions are going to be asked.

I did the best I could by writing my book and putting it out there for whoever wants to read about Robert. I wish that I could. Did you do anything in that situation that you feel bad about or you feel was wrong? Absolutely not. That's my answer forever: Absolutely not.

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Kelly's career thrived through the rest of the '90s and into the new century. Few conversations with him leave any doubt about how significant he feels his achievements are. What is surprising, then, is that when I later try to talk with him in more detail about his musical career, he often seems to have only the most spotty and rudimentary familiarity with what he has done. At one point I ask him—purely to ease into the subject—which of his albums he thinks most perfectly realizes who R.

Kelly is. This is his answer:. I think it's my second album. I don't know if that's the R. But he's still not quite sure. It began as an onstage improvisation while he was on tour; the audience reaction told him he had hit on a winning formula. You know, three times as good.

It established a narrative where there would be two distinct types of R. Kelly albums. And then there would be his other albums. In practice, Kelly has been pretty undisciplined about maintaining any kind of clear dividing line between the two.

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Often the sex albums have songs that are completely off-topic the first single from TP The first ripple of what was to come was a story in the Chicago Sun-Times at the end of , revealing that Kelly had settled a lawsuit with a woman who claimed to have had sex with him when she was 15, and reporting that this was only one example of a pattern of behavior. Other lawsuits followed, and videos purporting to show Kelly having sex with various women were widely available for sale on the streets. The man looked extraordinarily like R.

Kelly, and the location bore an extraordinary resemblance to the wood-paneled basement of the house where Kelly lived at the time.

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In June , Kelly was indicted for making child pornography. Surreally, the guitarist credited on the record was the father of the girl. From then on, Kelly's career seemed to continue, virtually unaffected by his continuing real-life problems. And despite advice from his lawyers, plenty of the songs he released in this era were as provocatively sexual as anything he'd ever done.

He refused to back down.