The big surprise from R. Kelly’s appearance on The Arsenio Hall Show was his performance of “Soldier’s Heart,” a song for the late Nelson Mandela. But Chicago’s R&B pied piper also put on a striking performance in ways that were less weighted with world-historical import. He held a fake press conference for a theatrical rendition of December 10 album Black Panties‘ o-m-g self-justification “Shut Up,” and he reached back to 2010’s Love Letter for the gloriously showy retro-soul of “When a Woman Loves.” After recently making up a song called “Sex Dolphin” for Rolling Stone, Kellz also came up with on-the-spot songs about frosted flakes, relish, and ketchup for Arsenio. The R. did tell host Arsenio Hall he likes comedy in his songs — you knew the man last seen reenacting his lady-cello album cover on Jimmy Kimmel Live! couldn’t stay in a somber mode for an entire TV show.
Watch “Shut Up” above and the other clips below, plus the gleefully entendre-laden interview segment, and scroll to the bottom to revisit Kelly’s Mandela tribute. As a bonus, via The Fader, check out the markedly improved “L.A. Remix” of Black Panties‘ rags-to-Versace “My Story,” with West Coast rappers Too $hort and Nipsey Hussle.