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R. Kelly Dumbs Out Hard for Awful ‘U.O.E.N.O.’ Remix Verse

'Black Panties' singer jumps on Rocko's controversial single

Well, it’s another one of those “I don’t know what I expected” match-ups. “You know I had to do it,” R. Kelly brays to start his verse for another remix of Rocko’s controversy-starting “U.O.E.N.O.,” and, like, you did know what it’d wind up sounding like — but that doesn’t make this joyless, perfunctory take any less disappointing.

Kells’ best remixes tend to be reimaginings of his own songs: Think “Ignition (Remix),” “In the Kitchen (Remix),” or “Feelin’ on Yo Booty (Dirty South Mix)”. Still, not even counting the R&B pied piper’s appearance on Phoenix’s recent “Trying to Be Cool” redux, the “remix killer” also has a solid list of credits on other singers’ reworkings: Kanye West’s “Flashing Lights,” Swizz Beatz’ “It’s Me Bitches,” Mariah Carey’s “Touch My Body,” T-Pain’s “Chopped & Screwed,” and more.

Here, though, it’s as if he’s just going through the motions.

On this version of “U.O.E.N.O.,” Kelly constrains his incomparable voice with Auto-Tune and spouts lazy, juvenile braggadocio. “Y’all shit-talkin’ to a toilet,” he sings. “I’m motor-boatin’ those tig ol’ bitties,” he sings. “Bitch, I’m a dog, I ain’t got no leash,” he sings. Indeed, but he doesn’t use that lack of restraint to say anything of interest here. Other R&B singers “don’t want beef,” so they’re “vegetarians”? Um, okay.

As the R. prepares to return to a more contemporary pop sound on this year’s Black Panties, following the great throwbacks of 2010’s Love Letter and 2012’s Write Me Back, this track comes across as an attempt to reestablish the singer’s longstanding rap crossover appeal. In that sense, it’s of a piece with the clumsy 2 Chainz team-up “My Story,” though Future-assisted slow jam “Tear It Up” still offers some hope. “I just killed the remix / Y’all don’t even know it,” Kelly concludes here. We don’t even know how to respond to that.

Tags: R. Kelly, Songs