Nah I never heard those Clique. Good songs. R.Kelly can make quality songs off any topic. That's way harder than it sounds.
That's very true. R. can write sexy slow jams to inspirational epics to hip hop infused R&B. One minute he can sing about how he wants to get up on a room with a girl, then switch it up and talk about how he wishes his fallen homie was still here to enjoy life with him, to relationship issues, to believing in yourself and soaring to your highest potential. People call artists like him and Prince (maybe my all-time fave w/MJ & JB) hypocritical or confusing because they mix raunchiness and spirituality in their catalogs but I just feel they are real artists that can express the different motivations and convictions we have because we aren't one-dimensional people. I can admit I have my sexual interests as well as spiritual interests and music is one way of exploring both. But R. Kelly is just great at telling a story with his lyrics and creating scenes in your mind to the songs he is singing about.
Here's one of my favorite spiritual/inspirational songs of his:
Bey definitely would have had a tougher time getting to the top. Aaliyah was about get even bigger with movies and her third album got a great reaction even before the untimely death so her music I think may have eventually adopted some pop sensibilities.
I agree you can probably forget about Ashanti and Ciara.
"Come Over" and "One In A Million" (still love that album) are not only beautiful songs but beautiful stories. Missy, Timbaland & Magoo, Ginuwine and Aaliyah was a good look.