Candid track references Beyonce resentment and abusive relationship.
"Talk A Good Game" is an apt title for Kelly Rowland’s latest album. Rowland’s second set for Republic Records and fourth album overall, due June 18, finds the former Destiny’s Child fully coming into her own as a solo artist with a renewed focus on R&B and her most forthcoming, hard-hitting tracks to date.
At the center of the project is "Dirty Laundry," a collaboration with The-Dream that Rowland premiered today (Wednesday, May 15) on her SoundCloud page. The candid track finds Rowland laying herself bare with frank and often poignant commentary that begins during a rough period shortly after the release of her solo debut "Simply Deep" in 2002. The song unfolds in chapters, with Rowland confronting her resentment over Beyoncé’s post-Destiny’s Child success in the first verse. “When my sister was on stage / killing it like a mother fucker / I was in a rage / feeling it like a motherfucker,” she sings, later adding, "Post-'Survivor,' she on fire / Who wanna hear my bullshit?"
The second and third verses take a darker turn, with Rowland singing about an ex who was "hitting the window like it was me / And still it shattered.He pulled me out and said 'Don’t nobody love you but me / Not your mama / Not your daddy / and especially not Bey.'" Recording the song was so emotional for Rowland, it took her nearly a dozen takes to lay down her vocals without crying. And even at a recent listening for her label, she had to leave the room before the song was played.
"It was very emotional. It took me days to record," Rowland tells Billboard. "I had to get past being so upset and actually sing the song, not sob through it. I always hope that my music can inspire someone, the same way other artists inspire me. Dream said, 'I want to write you a record so that people will know exactly who you are, underneath it all.'"
The-Dream adds that he had to "push" Rowland to go outside her comfort zone, compiling highlights from different personal stories she shared as he put together the lyrics for the song. "What unfolds on TV or on the Internet, it’s never really that. You think it is but it’s just not," he says. "When you have a stage like Kelly has, you should talk about that part of your life. I think Kelly’s way deeper than that."
Rowland and the-Dream are about to embark on a summer tour, Lights Out, which kicks off May 24 in Kansas City, where Rowland plans to something special with “Dirty Laundry.” “It’s me, a light, and a mic. Stripped and honest,” she says.