Before we explore the fact that R Kelly is just so much human garbage, let’s get this out of the way: ‘Ignition (Remix)’ is a jam.
Sometimes terrible people make great music – like, how shit is Gary Glitter, but how good is ‘Rock’n Roll Part 2’? These people being awful doesn’t make their music any less awesome, and you’re not doing anything wrong by nodding your head – “yes, yes, yes, this rocks!” – when one of their bangers comes on your Spotify playlist.
Of course, if you’re listening to a Spotify-owned and operated playlist, you won’t be hearing any R Kelly tunes. Because the streaming service has removed him from all their algorithmic recommendations.
According to a statement from a Spotify spokesperson given to Newsbeat, “We are removing R Kelly’s music from all Spotify-owned and operated playlists and algorithmic recommendations, such as Discover Weekly.”
“When we are alerted to content that violates our policy, we may remove it (in consultation with rights holders) or refrain from promoting or playlisting it on our service,” the company said in a statement.
“It’s important to us that our values are reflected in all the work that we do, whether it’s distribution, promotion, or content creation.”
So, this is tricky. Kelly hasn’t actually been convicted of any crimes, but there is so much swirling speculation about the man’s sexual proclivities.
Last year, the BBC aired a documentary titled R Kelly: Sex, Girls and Videotapes, which “explores allegations surrounding the sex life of R&B legend R Kelly, including accusations of holding women against their will in his home in Atlanta and running a degrading sex cult – allegations he denies.”
There is also an ongoing social media campaign against Kelly called #MuteRKelly, which has been supported by the likes of Lupita Nyong’o and John Legend.
For his part, Kelly’s representatives told Variety in April they would “vigorously resist this attempted public lynching of a black man”.
50 Cent has defended Kelly:
Nevertheless, Spotify is ending their promotion of the man, saying, “We’ve also thought long and hard about how to handle content that is not hate content itself, but is principally made by artists or other creators who have demonstrated hateful conduct personally.”
Further, a company representative said, “We don’t censor content because of an artist’s or creator’s behaviour, but we want our editorial decisions – what we choose to program – to reflect our values.
“When an artist or creator does something that is especially harmful or hateful, it may affect the ways we work with or support that artist or creator.”
For the record, Kelly is still on Spotify – if you look it up, you can still find ‘I believe I can fly’ – the company just will not promote his music anymore.