R Kelly – Happy People

Slick two-album set from R&B royalty

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The multi-million-selling soul charlatan cobbles together refried chunks of The Isleys, Stevie Wonder and Timmy Thomas and… it’s fantastic. Happy People is an extraordinarily buoyant record, giving off irresistible party vibes and forcing you to step like it’s 1989 and Jam & Lewis (rather than Kanye or The Neptunes) are the names to drop. He’s the black Strokes: you’ve heard it before, but it’s fun to hear again. U Saved Me is lumpy ballads full of guff about “faith” and “spirit”, but that first album, with its contrived between-tracks atmosphere and banter, is a curning, crackling, can’t-keep-still classic.

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