Early Monday morning, a new R. Kelly track, “I Admit” dropped on SoundCloud, where the singer addresses the allegations that he runs a sex cult; reveals he was sexually abused as a child and waxes on at length about his dire financial and legal straits.
But don’t be fooled: Despite being set up as a confession—and running over 19 minutes—the song is less about expressing guilt or culpability than it is about giving the world a litany of the singer’s grievances. Robert Kelly is a great musician. Robert Kelly knows he’s a great musician. And, as Robert Kelly posits repeatedly in the stream-of-consciousness song, his musical contributions should be enough for people to give him the benefit of the doubt.
Let’s start with what Kelly actually admits to. In the song, Kelly proclaims that he’s a “gift and curse,” owns up to lying and “fucking a bitch just because” and admits that he’s a “freak.” He also confesses to sleeping with people he shouldn’t—like a friend’s girl, and his girlfriend’s best friend (I “tapped that in the back of my Benz” Kelly sings, effectively turning an admission of guilt into a brag).