Ladies and gentlemen, the cultural event of the year is upon us — today begins the continuation of R. Kelly's Trapped in the Closet saga! Chapter thirteen is available now, and we've asked performance artist Neal Medlyn and Kenny Mellman (Kiki & Herb), creators of the musical Kenny Mellman + Neal Medlyn = Robert Kelly, to help us make sense of it.
Summary: Sylvester and Twan go for a drive to see about some money they owe, and we meet Randolph, the wacky husband of Rosie, who disapproves of his wife's spying on neighbors from their bedroom window. Sylvester and Twan reach their destination and Sylvester
Mellman: So, Jesus Christ. It's becoming some weird amalgamation of Philip Glass or John Adams and Tyler Perry's plays. The melody just keeps repeating, more so in this new episode than in the previous ones. There's still no recognizable hook!
And then there's that crazy scene between the old neighbor and her husband (played like Sanford with a cotton-ball beard by Kellz himself). When the nosy neighbor turns to her husband and sings, "I'm gonna wipe that shit on you," I broke out laughing out loud, which I never do alone in front of my computer, even when watching "Chocolate Rain" on YouTube.
My other favorite moment is when the brother is singing and rolling up the window and you can't hear what he's saying because the window is rolled up all the way. That's detail!
I hope up he comes up with 30 more chapters so they can blow it up to 35mm and show it at BAM with Kellz himself performing the whole thing live, and people will have to give it the respect it deserves. Of course, we'll have to wait until he gets out of jail…
Medlyn: Ha! Yeah, BAM would be perfect. I sometimes chuckle that people bother going to Town Hall to hear great songwriters and lyricists when they could just turn on Hot 97 and hear R. Kelly. He’s the new Cole Porter.
I appreciate the diversions sometimes in these songs, where he breaks up the action for some weird set piece, like the business with the weed and the sideways-turned cap. Just like in his songs where he’ll interrupt accusing his friend of sleeping with his girlfriend with a discussion of the roughness of prison toilet paper, there’s a place besides super-smutty and super-crazy that Kelly sometimes goes that I get very excited about.
Lots of people told me that they were sure he was out of ideas when “Bridget, pregnant by this midget” showed up in episode nine, but anybody who can come up with a line like “crazier than a fish with titties” has plenty left in his overheated imagination to supply ten new episodes.