You don’t need me to tell you how controversial the legendary R&B vocalist R. Kelly is since it’s well documented. Hell, he’s even doing prison time for it. So, we will leave that part to TMZ. Sometimes, you have to separate the person from the artist if you want to have an objective conversation about their art. And that’s what I am going to do today.
The best R. Kelly songs of all time are impressive in many ways. From the early 1990s up until his incarceration, he was like a one-man hit factory. His music was a cool blend of modern R&B, Hip-Hop, and Pop that made him a household name for all the right reasons. Over his illustrious career, he’s made some of the most famous pop songs in the world, and here are some of R. Kelly’s top songs, starting with…
Top 49 Best R. Kelly Songs of All Time
“Ignition Remix” might or might not be at the top of the list for some fans. But, for me, this is the best song he ever made. It’s a track that perfectly merged his R&B style with a Pop music vibe that hit the top of the charts right across the globe. It was the lead single to his 2002 album of the same name. And, boy, was it massive. It was written and produced by R. Kelly and is his second-biggest-selling song ever.
It peaked on the US Hot 100 Billboard Charts at #2 for five consecutive weeks. And it was even included in the 2010 Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time list. It’s the sort of track you’d put on when you are getting ready to go out to the club. That’s why it is at the pinnacle of the Top 10 R. Kelly songs.
I Believe I Can Fly
If you want the most successful R. Kelly song ever, “I Believe I Can Fly,” is that track. It’s the sort of song that everybody knows and didn’t really think about it until it comes on the radio. This famous track came out in 1996 as part of the soundtrack for the Space Jam motion picture. It was later included on R. Kelly’s R. album in 1998, so it was featured on two LPs.
“I Believe I Can Fly” peaked at #2 on the Hot 100 Billboard Charts and reached #1 on the Billboard R&B Singles chart. It placed at #1 on the UK Singles Charts and a bunch of other charts in European countries. The lyrics are inspirational, the music is soft and caressing, and R. Kelly’s vocal performance was stunning.
Bump n’ Grind
“Bump n’ Grind” might be one of the best love songs ever if you are trying to get it on with your significant other. Or someone else’s. It’s sultry, sensual, hot, sweaty, and sexy, all in equal amounts. You still hear this being played every night on those love song radio channels. Just so the lonely can cry themselves to sleep listening to it.
This classic R. Kelly song came out back in 1993 as the second single from his debut studio album, 12 Play. It went on to become a massive hit that cemented his name as an artist to watch for in the future. Many fans were introduced to the artist by this track. So, not only was it a massive commercial success, but it also gave him more exposure than ever before.
Same Girl (feat. Usher)
Sparks were bound to fly when R. Kelly and Usher collaborated in the studio. And that’s just what happened. “Same Girl” featuring Usher was released in 2007 and was from Kelly’s eighth studio album, Double Up. The two vocalists blended like mac n cheese but were twice as creamy and smooth.
It might not have been a commercial success on the level as some of his earlier stuff. But, the record industry was changing at the time and moving more towards digital singles as opposed to physical copies. The lyrics are about a girl that both Usher and R. Kelly loved at the same time without even realizing it. They both got played for a change.
I’m a Flirt Remix (feat. T.I. & T-Pain)
The “I’m a Flirt Remix” featured both T.I. and T-Pain and was the lead single from his 2007 Double Up album. Originally, it was a song by the American rapper Bow Wow and was supposed to be on his album, but for some reason, it didn’t turn out that way. The original track featured R. Kelly, but then he decided to make a remix, and it ended up on his album instead.
When the remix was released, it reached #12 on the US Hot 100 Billboard Charts. Outside of North America, the track didn’t do so well commercially. But his fans still believe this is one of the best R. Kelly songs of all time, and I wholeheartedly agree.
Burn It Up (feat. Wisin & Yandel)
“Burn it Up,” featuring Wysin and Yandell, is a bit different in comparison to other tracks on this list. It has a very Latin-inspired feel, as you would expect from the two featured artists. It was a single from his 2005 TP.3 Reloaded album. And, although it didn’t particularly chart so high, it’s a popular track with his fans for all the right reasons.
If you get the chance to check out the remix, you should, because it features a verse from the legendary New York rapper Fat Joe. And the instrumental was also reused by Daddy Yankee and Deevani on a track called “Mirame.”
When I heard that R. Kelly and Ludacris were collaborating on a track back in 2013, it’s safe to say that I was excited. And these guys didn’t let me down. “Legs Shakin’” featuring Ludacris was as sexy as hell. It was released as a single for his 2013 Black Panties album, and fans really loved it.
For sure, it was a commercial success. But, by this time, artists like R. Kelly were not selling like before. However, it’s still fondly remembered by fans and has a solid place among the best songs by R. Kelly.
“Cookie” was also from his Black Panties album in 2013 and heavily used auto-tune, which is something you don’t often hear from artists who can actually sing. This was his twelfth studio album, which is unheard of for most artists and just shows the type of longevity that he had. It’s a very trippy but laid-back song that is relaxing and stoned.
This might not have charted in the mainstream. But, it still holds up great and represents R. Kelly trying to keep up with the young ones by doing something a bit different and out of his comfort zone. I believe this one is an underrated gem. So, if you’ve never heard it before, it’s about time that you did.
Fiesta Remix (feat. Jay-Z, Boo & Gotti)
I love R. Kelly’s tracks from around the start of the millennium. He seemed to be in the perfect artistic groove at the time, and his music proved that. The “Fiesta Remix” featured the legendary Jay-Z, Boo & Gotti is an up-tempo club banger that will get your butt moving on the dancefloor.
It was released in May 2001 and was a single from his TP-2.com album in 2000. Reaching #1 on the US R&B charts, it was a commercial success at the time. This was also a precursor for the collaboration album between Jay-Z and R. Kelly, The Best of Both Worlds, which came out in 2002.
I’m Your Angel (feat. Celine Dion)
No one in Pop Music was bigger than Canadian singer Celine Dion in the mid to late 1990s. R. Kelly teamed with Celine Dion for “I’m Your Angel,” which came out in 1998 and was on Celine’s These Are Special Times album. It might be one of the most surprising duets ever. And it would be interesting to know what Celine thinks about it now we know about Kelly’s dubious sexual activities.
It was massive when it came out and peaked at #1 on the US Hot 100 Billboard Charts while also charting very high right across North America and Europe. It’s a slow and ponderous love ballad, but all of Celine Dion’s songs were, so I don’t know what we expected.
Down Low (Nobody Has to Know)
Step In the Name of Love
I Believe I Can Fly – Radio Edit
Bump n’ Grind
I’m Your Angel
Did You Ever Think
It Seems Like You’re Ready
In the Kitchen
Bump & Grind 2014
U Saved Me
The Greatest Sex
Fiesta feat Jay-Z
You Remind Me
The World’s Greatest
Get Up on a Room
Strip For You
(Sex) Love Is What We Makin
Don’t Put Me Out
Baby, Baby, Baby, Baby, Baby…
Need More Awesome R&B Tunes?
If so, check out our thoughts on the Best Mary J. Blige Songs of All-Time, the Best Songs By Al Green, the Best Songs By Celine Dion, the Best 2000s R&B Songs, and the Best R&B Songs of All Time for more great song selections.
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Best R. Kelly Songs of All Time – Final Thoughts
Will R. Kelly make music ever again? Perhaps the real question should be, will R. Kelly ever be released from prison? Throughout his career, starting in the early 1990s until his incarceration in September 2021, he made some massive hits. His sentence is 30 years, but with the American judicial system being what it is, anything can happen.
But will people buy his music now after what he’s done and been convicted for? I highly doubt it.
Over his career, he released 14 studio albums. He’s sold over 75 million albums and is one of the biggest-selling R&B artists ever. R. Kelly’s best songs of all time go to prove what a talent he is. It’s just a shame about the other parts of his life.
Until next time, happy listening.