R Kelly’s best album, as far as I’m concerned, is his fourth, or third if you don’t count the one with Public Announcement. I hate the title. Eponymous titles are silly in general and R is his second in row; he should’ve called it VIP as the Chase interlude suggests; but the music represents Kelly at his artistic peak. You can say it’s his magnum opus.
It’s also by far his longest, but most of its twenty-something songs are damn good. Would it be better if it were stripped down à la 12 Play? Certainly, but that can be said for most long albums. What I Feel; a song that should’ve been reserved for his friend Michael Jackson; is superb in any case. Down Low Double Life is another major standout.
I like TP2 and Chocolate Factory. The Happy People [ U Saved Me ] set is probably his second best. R Kelly was making mostly good albums up to that point, but he hasn’t made a good one since. The rest, from TP3 to his 12 Nights Of Christmas; all the 12 Play references suggest a music icon, legend even, longing for his glory days; are merely decent.
my vote : R