Exploiting the Archives: Jay-Z/R. Kelly My World of Flops and Kanye West Primer

This sure doesn’t LOOK like two men glumly going through the motions!

This sure doesn’t LOOK like two men glumly going through the motions!

Watching Surviving R. Kelly and reflecting upon its subject’s life and crimes I found myself thinking a lot about the two collaborative albums the explosive expose’s subject made with Jay-Z, 2002’s The Best of Both Worlds and the 2004 outtakes collection Unfinished Business. 

Jay-Z is one of the most cautious and deliberate players in pop music. Yet he nevertheless had the appalling judgment to not just collaborate with the world’s most rich and famous child pornography director/actor not just on a song or two, but on two fucking albums. With a dude he fucking hated! 

I was so morbidly fascinated by Jay-Z and R. Kelly’s doomed union that I covered it for a My World of Flops piece back when I was at the A.V Club and looking back I gotta say, holy shit is it ever long! 


It seems like I spend two thousand words talking about Kanye and Jay-Z and Watch the Throne before I even pivoted into actually discussing the subject of the article. It turns out that back when I was still writing about new pop music on a regular basis I had a LOT of opinions about Jay-Z. And R. Kelly. I was professionally obligated to, on some level, but man, I just go on and on! 

I sometimes wonder if I should go back to writing about Hip Hop regularly but I feel like I’ve been out the game too long, that I’ve missed too many movements and artists and cultural moments to ever be able to write about rap outside of “Weird Al” Yankovic or Insane Clown Posse with any authority again. 


Oh well. Speaking of Kanye, here’s my Kanye Primer, also from The A.V Club. It’s also long. But also, I would like to think, good as well. 

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