A few tracks into The Demo Tape, DJ Drama informs us that we're witnessing history in the making. "I think this is a first!" he yells. "An R&B Gangsta Grillz! Floodgates are open!" You've gotta wonder how R. Kelly feels about that. I mean, here's a dude with a house full of gold and platinum face who's more or less the face of contemporary R&B raunch, right? "Trapped in the Closet," you know? "I Believe I Can Fly?" "Feelin' on Yo Booty"? Yet here he is, dropping a free internet mixtape in order to drum up buzz for an upcoming album that's been delayed once or twice (and now due in September), as though he were some unknown, MySpace-spamming punchline rapper lacking significant crew affliations. Of course, with our collective national attention span shrinking by the hour - 07's Double Up was sooooo four centuries ago - a reintroduction is probably in order; until recently, Kells and his legal team were too busy battling child sex abuse charges to focus on recording and releasing new grown'n'sexy jams. But I wish The Demo Tape was more memorable and substantial than it is; this tape is fun and all, but I wasn't able to come up with more than 9 songs I really needed to hear ever again and it doesn't do much more than remind the world that R. Kelly exists! Which may have been the whole point. And DJ Drama: please start editing original vocals out of the tracks you're jacking. It isn't that hard to do, is it?
2. "Kelly's 12 Play Remix": Producer extraordinare The-Dream (Rihanna, Mariah Carey) clearly sees himself as the second coming of Kells, and earlier this year he gave his idol some dap with "Kelly's 12 Play," where he sang about sexing a special lady to Kelly's classic 12 Play album. Given his gargantuan self-regard, it was inevitable that Kells would flip the track for this mixtape. Pull quote: "Makin' your body shake like a horror movie/And then I'll put that ass to sleep." More fright-night imagery, please; it's an interesting direction.
4. "Disrespect My Shorty": Oh, please. A don't-hurt-my-girl-by-accosting-me-in-public plea from the co-author of unrepentent horndog banger "I'm A Flirt"?
5. "Fuck Every Girl": This was inevitable, too. Young Money Entertainment - Lil Wayne plus a bunch of wannabe rappers you've never heard of, basically - imagined "Every Girl" as a dewey, springtime-y ode to perpetual hetero-male arousal where all participants would pretend to be Kanye West; as such, this is right up Kells' alley. "I've got a dick and a half/So ladies don't argue" is a boast for the books, though, Robert? You should never, ever use Auto-tune again. You're better than that, for real.
6. "Best I Ever Had": "She the fucking best/And I'm the fucking best/So we the fucking best/Mixtape!" With my secret Little Orphan Annie decoder ring, I've translated this verse; decoded, it reads "Buy my album when it drops for lyrics of unfuckwithable quality."
7. "Banging The Headboard": Imagine what'd it be like if Kells was your next-door neighbor in a rowhouse! You'd never, ever get any sleep, and his jealous exes and the parents of his underage, undercompensated paramours would constantly be throwing rocks through your window by mistake. Bad times!
8. "Pussy Cry": Man! Being a smooth, suave lothario sure sounds like a lot of hassle: making that body scream, buying bubbly by the crate, organizing shopping sprees, listening attentively, texting incessantly, "talking that freaky shit to you." But hey, Kells is here to do all that stuff for you and make it sound super alluring, even with Auto-Tune. All you have to do is hit play.
13. "Supa Dupa Man": You think Kells ever hits the gym? I don't think he even has to, what with all the round-the-clock, post-nightclub sex he's having.
14. "Tip the Waiter": God only knows what Kells' idea of a fair waitstaff tip is. This song, about patiently trying to coax a honey into his ride and ultimately into his bed, doesn't really clue us in. "Girl, I want some patootie, and I don't mean cash," he explains before launching back into the titular chorus, which feels so superfluous as to be ludicrous.
18. "Chopped & Screwed Remix": You heard right, ladies - play your cards right, and Kells will treat you to breakfast at IHOP. Those pancakes are slammin'.