A new R. Kelly album titled I Admit It was uploaded to streaming services Friday (Dec. 9), but it didn’t come from Kelly’s team or his label.
While the release credits Legacy Recordings as the label, presumably Sony Music’s Legacy Recordings imprint, a rep for Legacy Recordings said the company was not involved in the project. Furthermore, sources at Legacy say the album came as a total surprise and they are inquiring with streamers such as Spotify, Apple Music and Amazon Music about how the album was delivered to them.
The album was uploaded by Universal Music Group-owned distributor Ingrooves, leaving involved parties scrambling to figure out what went wrong. Once Ingrooves executives learned of the release, according to a source familiar with the situation, they set about requesting that streaming services pull the release. By 3 p.m. EST on Friday it was down.
Now, the source says, Ingrooves is in the process of investigating what went wrong internally and is severing a relationship with the label Real Talk Entertainment, which released the album on a sub-label called Legacy Recordings — the same name as Sony’s imprint. Real Talk could not be reached for immediate comment.
In January 2019, Sony and Kelly agreed to part ways days after Lifetime released the Surviving R. Kelly documentary that detailed sexual misconduct allegations against the three-time Grammy-winning singer. Sony still represents Kelly’s catalog of music, however, including his early recordings under Zomba/Jive and then later RCA, both of which are Sony-owned imprints.
The 13-track project arrives as the disgraced R&B singer (real name Robert Sylvester Kelly) is serving a 30-year prison sentence after he was convicted of racketeering and sex trafficking charges in a New York trial last June. In September, during another trial in his hometown of Chicago, Kelly, 55, was convicted of several child pornography charges.
The album’s title track, “I Admit It,” was originally released as a 19-minute track on SoundCloud in 2018. It is now featured as three separate songs, each titled “I Admit It (I Did It),” at the end of the album which addresses the sexual abuse allegations against him over the last few decades and its virulent effects on his career.
Kelly’s attorney, Jennifer Bonjean, did not respond to Billboard‘s request for comment by the time of publishing. But she told Variety earlier Friday that the singer’s team is not behind the release and that he “is having intellectual property stolen from him.”
The last studio album Kelly released was a holiday album titled 12 Nights of Christmas on Oct. 21, 2016. It’s his final album on RCA Records before the label removed him in the wake of the Surviving R. Kelly doc.