World's Greatest

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
This is a story about the rise of R. Kelly career.

Submitted: January 23, 2015

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Submitted: January 23, 2015

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Robert Sylvester Kelly, also known as R. Kelly grew up in Chicago, Illinois. He was very close friend with my uncle. They grew up together in the south side of Chicago. His mom, Joanne, was a single mother of four. At the age of 8 R. Kelly joined the choir at his church. That was the beginning of his musical career. In high school R. Kelly played on his high school basketball team. Before his high school talent show his music teacher encourage him to not only join the talent show but to quit the basketball team and focus on a musical career. He was very mad at his teacher for him wanting to quit the basketball team, since basketball meant a lot to him. He, however was happy to join the talent show. His teacher also encouraged him on what song he should sing. The song he sang at the talent show was “Ribbon in the Sky” by Stevie Wonder. After his great performance, he really thought about what his teacher told him about leaving the team. When he realized how good his performance was he decided to quit the team and focus on becoming a singer. When he was still a teenager he became a street performer under the train tracks in Chicago. In 1989 he had his first music group with a couple of home-town friends, Vincent Walker, Shawn Brooks, and Marc McWilliams. The group was called Musically Gifted Men, or MGM. MGM was in a TV show called “Big Break”, it was similar to a show like American Idol. His group would go on to win the $100,000 1st place prize. They recorded and release their first song called “Why You Wanna Play Me”. Shortly after the group split up. In 1991 R. Kelly signed with Jive Records and joined a new group. His new group was called Public Announcement. R. Kelly was the main singer of the group. His backup singers were Earl Robinson, Andre Boykins, and Ricky Webster. The group put out an album in 1992 called “Born into the 90’s”. The album would go on and become platinum. A song on the album called “Honey Love” was nominated for the Favorite Soul/R&B single in the American Music Awards. “Born into the 90’s” was R. Kelly’s only album with Public Announcement since he left the group before they started to record another album. He left the group in January of 1993. In November of 1993 R. Kelly released his first solo album. The album was called “12 Play”. The album contained his first number one hit on the Billboard Hot R&B singles chart, the song was “Bump N Grind”. The song broke a record for being the longest song to stay number one on the chart. It was number one for 12 straight weeks. In 1994 “12 Play” was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America. The album also went platinum six times. Throughout the next couple years R. Kelly really made his presents felt. In 1994 a singer named Aaliyah made an album called “Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number”. The album was completely written and produced by R. Kelly. The album reached 18 on the Billboard 200. It also sold over three million copies in the United States. In 1995 R. Kelly got his first Grammy nominations. He got two for writing, producing and composing Michael Jackson’s song “You are not alone”. The song was a number one hit. In 1996 R. Kelly came out with one of the greatest songs of all time; “I Believe I can fly”. The song was on the soundtrack of the movie Space Jam, a movie starring Michael Jordan. The song reached #2 on the United States Billboard. It was also ranked #1 in UK for three weeks. Rolling Stone named that song 406th in the 500 greatest song of all-time. “I Believe I can fly” would also go on to win three Grammy awards in 1998. In between those years R. Kelly took some time to fulfill a childhood dream. In 1997 R. Kelly signed a contract to play in the USBL (United States Basketball League). The USBL was almost like a development league for basketball. The United States Basketball League was founded in 1985. It was short lived though only lasting until 2007. R. Kelly played for the Atlanta City Seagulls and wore number 12 in honor of his album “12 Play”. His contract had a clause that would allow him to leave the team for music if needed. Ken Gross, the owner of the Seagulls said “If Whitney Houston needs a song written, he’d be able to leave the team to do that, and come back.” He also said about Kelly that “He’s a ballplayer. He can play.” R. Kelly soon returned to his musical career. After numerous award winnings and nominations R. Kelly came out with a song that was used in the movie Ali. The song was titled “The World’s Greatest”. It was originally a tribute to Muhammad Ali, who is argued to be the greatest boxer of all time. In the music video R. Kelly plays the role of Muhammad Ali. In the video it turns to the actual Muhammad Ali a couple times. It shows him bouncing around in the boxing ring, the video even ends with him in an interview. Honestly, I think this song was more than just about Muhammad Ali. I think there is more to it. This song had much meaning throughout it. In the video it often shows people who should be known as heroes. People like the police, firefighters, U.S. soldiers, doctors, even a mother and a father. That’s what I believe the true meaning is to this song; that everybody is a hero to somebody. To somebody out there we are, as R. Kelly stated in the song, “that little bit of hope when my back up against the ropes.” There is something out there that makes us “the world’s greatest” in something, no matter what it is. People could be the world’s greatest parent, nobody is actually the world’s best parent, but to their child they are the world’s greatest. To me this is one of the greatest songs ever made. It has so much meaning to me, because when I grow up I want to be the world’s greatest in whatever I do. I want to go down in history. I want people to remember my name for centuries. This is a great song by R. Kelly, who has had a great career.


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