We've missed you, Pimp Lucius.
Welcome to the latest installment of Billboard.com's "Trapped in the Closet" recaps, in which we look back on all the harmonized madness of R. Kelly's hip-hopera. After triumphantly returning with the introductory Chapter 23 last month -- a teaser chapter, if you will -- Chapter 24 (posted online at IFC's official site on Monday, Nov. 26) delves back into the action with a heated, ridiculous exchange between Sylvester, Twan and the aforementioned Pimp Lucius, who is now herding a blind prostitute.
But let's start at the beginning. Sylvester and Twan are in the barber shop, and Twan is tickled by the outcome of a basketball game on the television. Just like always, Sylvester (played, of course, by Robert Sylvester Kelly) wants Gwendolyn's brother to calm down ("You see this razor to my head?") and tell him about the mysterious phone call from Chapter 23. Sylvester's sideburns, it's worth pointing out, are mighty and immaculate.
The Narrator then directs us outside to find Pimp Lucius huffing about his money to his four female companions. It's hard to imagine R. Kelly having more fun than when he gets to play a stuttering pimp with a braided beard; as straight-faced as some of the throwbacks on "Love Letter" and "Write Me Back" are, it's Pimp Lucius that has burrowed its way into Kelly's heavy heart, ever since he showed up in Chapter 19 of "Trapped" and refused to stop pimping. Watching Pimp Lucius miss the expected "dummy/money" rhyme because he instead has to work through his stutter is 10 times more entertaining than the entirety of "The King's Speech," and with Kelly's comedic timing sells the gag even before you notice that his hair connects to his mustache. Welcome back, old friend.
"Meanwhile, meanwhile, let's go back to the barbershop."
Twan is celebrating his victorious basketball bet by paying for Sylvester's haircut. Twan haters: acts of generosity like this are simply too daunting to ignore. Beneath those muscles is a puppy dog seeking affection, and we'll see if a free haircut will gain him increased respect from the more confident Sylvester. When Twan and Sylvester leaving the barbershop, talk resumes about the mysterious call, and Twan is being indiscriminate about the voice at the other end: "Sound kinda like he funny/But I don't care, as long as I get this money!" he concludes.
Then Pimp Lucius runs into the two friends, and all hell breaks loose.
"Wait!" Lucius exclaims. He recognizes Sylvester, and pauses his pimping to say so. Sylvester doesn't call him "Pimp Lucius," and Lucius calls Twan "macho man," and Twan threatens to bust a cap, and Pimp Lucius, incredibly, morphs into a crane-foot karate stance as two of his ho's grab his pimp cane and goblet (they take the items as if nonchalantly expecting this absurdity from Lucius -- a fantastic detail). "I'll kick your face off," Lucius sings, "hit you in your face, with your face!"
Twan is tempted to retaliate, but Sylvester reminds his pal that catching another case is forbidden. Pimp Lucius throws in one more homophobic insult to rile the bonehead up, but Sylvester once again stops him, and suggests that they "get a meal… on you." The chapter ends with the sound of Sylvester's laughter echoing, after a loving "Donald Trump" is lobbed at Twan. How much money did Twan win on that basketball game? Paying for a haircut is one thing, but a haircut and a meal seems to indicate a hefty sum. We're happy for Twan, but hope that a costly flubbed wager is not in his future.
Join us tomorrow for Chapter 25 of "Trapped in the Closet," as Pimp Lucius has more slander to drop upon this tender world we call Chicago.