R. Kelly is currently behind bars, serving time for charges in the state of New York, and is soon to also be charged in Illinois. Once considered by many to be the King of R&B music, Kelly has seen his reputation and legacy left in shreds. Unable to tour and with the #MuteRKelly movement turning many away from his catalog, people are curious about the state of Kelly’s finances these days. While he owes a ton of money to various companies and people, the singer is still bringing in millions of streams.
R&B music is in an incredible state right now. While some of its pioneers like Beyonce, are busy making waves in other genres, new acts like Summer Walker are continuing to carry the baton for fiercely vulnerable music about love and relationships. Walker has been breaking records left and right in the genre and leaving some of her contemporaries in the dust as far as monthly listens and streams. However, R. Kelly seems to still be a powerful streamer too, and is getting more monthly listens than a lot of the mainstream R&B artists.
Ari Lennox is one of R&B’s more promising stars of the moment. The Dreamville vocalist just dropped her new album Age Sex Location to rave reviews and acclaim. Despite some viral buzz and features from J. Cole and Summer Walker, Ari is only sitting at 4.1 million monthly listeners on Spotify. R. Kelly has been locked behind bars since 2019 and the singer is still registering 4.7 million listeners on the platform.
Other acts streaming considerably less than R. Kelly include Queen Naija. The social media star turned R&B singer commands a pretty impressive catalog, with her top singles on the site all in the 100 million realms, including her 2018 single “Medicine.” Queen is currently on tour with Mary J. Blige as well. Unfortunately, she falls under R. Kelly in streams, bringing in only 3 million monthly listeners.
It is not just new artists either. Establish veterans like Monica are only enjoying about 3.7 monthly followers despite singles like “Why I Love You So Much” enjoying viral success on TikTok. Brandy is doing a bit better, clocking in 4.4 million subscribers, but still not enough to best R. Kelly. Even with renewed interest in her back catalog and a hit single with Daniel Cesar in the last few years.
So why is it that R. Kelly still has such staying power? His top-streamed song is the “Ignition” remix which is closing in on 500 million streams. “I Believe I Can Fly,” “I’m a Flirt,” and “Same Girl” are following close behind it. His Ludacris-assisted record “Legs Shakin'” is also climbing up in the ranks with 11 million streams thanks to a viral challenge on TikTok. There are currently 723,000 videos on the platform of the video.Fans of R. Kelly do continue to support him on Twitter, claiming he’s been set up and wondering how he is taking the fall alone for charges of racketeering and organized crime.
It’s possible they are also organizing streaming events to keep his music trending and help him earn some money to cover his mounting debts.