UPDATED: R. Kelly addresses the multiple accusations of sexual misconduct against him in a sprawling 19-minute song called “I Admit” that dropped Monday morning.
The singer strikes a familiar defensive tone in the song, singing about the tall odds he overcame to attain success, accusing haters of trying to destroy his career and hangers-on of spending his money or benefiting from his largess. He admits “I done made some mistakes” but fiercely denies the strongest accusations against him. “How they gon’ say I don’t respect these women, when all I’ve done is represent / Take my career and turn it upside down, ’cause you mad I’ve got some girlfriends,” he sings.
He sort-of admits to his widely reported predilection for younger women, at one point singing “I admit I f— with all the ladies, that’s both older and young ladies/ But tell me how they call it pedophile, because that sh– is crazy.”
He describes his admitted transgressions in graphic terms: “Went and f—ed a n—a’s b—h/ I admit, I admit that I did/ I f—ed my girlfriend’s best friend/ Yeah I tapped that in the back of my Benz/ I admit I’m sorry for my sins.”
“You may have your opinions, entitled to your opinions/ But really am I supposed to go to jail or lose my career because of your opinion/ Yeah, go ahead and stone me, point your finger at me/ Turn the world against me, but only god can mute me,” he continues.
He even addresses the recent accusations that he’s brainwashed and held women in a “sex cult.”
“Said I’m abusing these women, what the f— that’s some absurd sh–/ They’re brainwashed, really?/ Kidnapped, really?/ Can’t eat, really?/ Real talk, that sh– sound silly.”
He goes on to claim the parents of Jocelyn Savage, who have accused the singer of kidnapping their daughter, of introducing her to him. “And if you really, really wanna know/ Her father dropped her off at my show/ And told this boy to put her on stage/ I admit that she was over age/ I admit that I was feelin’ her and I admit that she was feelin’ me/ I admit that that’s the sh– that comes with/ being a celebrity/ I ain’t chasing these ladies/ These ladies are chasing me, yeah.”
Kelly also acknowledges, as he has in the past, that he suffered sexual abuse an early age: “Now, I admit a family member touched me/ From a child to the age 14/ While I laid asleep, took my virginity.”
He also points a finger at Chicago journalist Jim DeRogatis, who first reported the existence of the sex tape at the center of the child-pornography case, ultimately dismissed, against Kelly in 2000, and has continued to report on the singer’s alleged misconduct in the years since. He accuses DeRogatis of building a career off of Kelly’s name.
“To Jim DeRogatis, whatever your name is (whatever your name is)/ You been tryna destroy me for 25 whole years/ Writin’ the same stories over and over against/ Off my name, you done went and made yourself a career/ But guess what? I pray for you and family, and all my other enemies/ I’m not gonna let y’all steal my joy, I’m just gonna keep on doing me.”
DeRogatis spoke with Variety about the song on Monday morning, saying that he stands by his reporting on the singer over the past 18 years. Reps for Kelly and his longtime label, RCA, did not immediately respond to Variety’s requests for comment. It was unclear at press time whether “I Admit” is connected to RCA; the song appears on the SoundCloud page of Julius Darrington, CEO of a little-known label called AudioDream that was founded in 2010 and whose most recent release apparently dropped in 2016.
Kelly also obliquely references Aaliyah — his protege, whom he allegedly married in 1994 when she was underage — as well as the sex tape, in the form of recalling a conversation with a woman, and claims that he was framed. “She said ‘What about Aaliyah said?’/ Love/ She said ‘What about the tape?’/ I said hush/ I said my lawyer said ‘don’t say nothin”/ But I can tell you I’ve been set up.”
There’s plenty more (listen below, if you must), but Kelly’s professed motivation for issuing the song is in this lyric:
“I never thought it would come to this, to be the most disrespected artist/ So I had to write a song about this, ’cause they always take my words and twist it/
Believe me, its hard to admit all this, but I’m in my feelings about this sh–/ But I had to set the f—in’ record straight.”