Timbaland says R. Kelly is still the 'king of R&B' despite being convicted of sex-trafficking women

Timbaland, R. Kelly.
Timbaland thinks R. Kelly's music has merit.Getty/Alexander Tamargo; Getty/Scott Olney
  • Timbaland said R. Kelly is still the "king of R&B" and "we all know that" during a podcast appearance.

  • "His art is his art, I ain't gonna bash the man's art," the award-winning producer added.

  • Kelly, 56, is currently in prison after being convicted of racketeering and sex trafficking charges.

Timbaland insisted that R. Kelly is still the R&B G.O.A.T., despite his being convicted of sex-trafficking women.

"R. Kelly's the king of R&B. We all know that, man," the award-winning music producer said during a recent appearance on the "Club Shay Shay" podcast while discussing with host Shannon Sharpe whether it's possible to separate Kelly's art from his crimes.

In June 2022, Kelly was sentenced to 30 years in prison by a New York Court after being found guilty on nine counts of racketeering and sex-trafficking charges related to Kelly's decades-long practice of grooming women and girls for illegal sex.

In February of this year, the 56-year-old was then sentenced by a Chicago court to an additional 20 years in prison after being found guilty of producing child pornography and abusing minors.

Kelly will serve 19 years of his Chicago sentence concurrently with his New York sentence, meaning that Kelly could serve a total of 31 years in prison.

"Everybody jump when you say R. Kelly," Timbaland said. "I'm like, so we just gonna ignore his music that he gave us, that we all jam to?"

"No, we can't do that. His art is his art, I ain't gonna bash the man's art," he added. "Don't mix music up with personal. Music is a feeling, it stands alone. Music is something that don't have no race, it brings people together. It don't have no drama with it. It is a place of enjoyment; a feeling, so don't bring drama into music. Leave that outside."

Representatives for Timbaland did not immediately reply to Insider's request for comment.


Though Timbaland never worked with Kelly, he did produce numerous songs, including "One in a Million" and "Try Again," for the late Aaliyah, who married Kelly in 1994 when she was 15 and he was 27.

During an episode of "True Hollywood Story" in 2011, Timbaland confessed to being "in love" with Aaliyah when they first met in 1995.

He said he did not act on his feelings because of their seven-year age difference.

"She just a baby, I'm old," he said. "I said to myself, 'I'm just gonna be her brother.' Oh man, I was fightin', I was fightin' a lot, a big war. But I loved Aaliyah."

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