What appeared to be a new album release from R. Kelly hit streaming platforms Friday, much to the surprise of many as the R&B star remains behind bars, serving a 30-year sentence after being convicted on federal racketeering and sex abuse charges.
The album, which was promptly removed from both Apple Music and Spotify after news broke of its release, stated it was from Sony’s Legacy Recordings, but a spokesperson for the music company, which owns the rights to much of Kelly’s recordings, said that was not the case and declined to comment further.
An attorney for Kelly, Jennifer Bonjean, called it a case of “stolen music” and said Kelly wasn’t aware of the album’s release until late Friday afternoon.
“It’s an unauthorized release of music,” she told NBC Chicago.
Apple and Spotify also did not respond to requests for comment surrounding the album’s publishing and subsequent removal.
The album was titled “I Admit It,” referencing Kelly’s 19-minute song released in 2018 in which he denied allegations against him. It featured 13 songs, with titles like “I Admit It (I Did It),” which is broken up into three parts.
Kelly, 55, was sentenced in June to 30 years in prison during a federal trial in New York where he was convicted of racketeering and sex trafficking.
He was also found guilty of numerous charges in connection to accusations he faced of child pornography and enticing minors for sex during a separate federal trial in September in Chicago, though he has not yet been sentenced in that.
Known for his smash hit “I Believe I Can Fly” and for sex-infused songs such as “Bump n’ Grind,” Kelly sold millions of albums even after allegations of sexual misconduct circulated in the 1990s. Widespread outrage emerged after the #MeToo reckoning and the 2019 Lifetime docuseries “Surviving R. Kelly.”