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Robert Sylvester Kelly (born January 8, 1967), known professionally as R. Kelly, is an American singer-songwriter, record producer, rapper and former professional basketball player. A native of Chicago, Illinois, often referred to as the King of R&B, Kelly began performing during the late 1980s and debuted in 1992 with the group Public Announcement. In 1993, Kelly went solo with the album 12 Play. He is known for a collection of major hit singles including "Bump N' Grind", "Your Body's Callin'", "I Believe I Can Fly", "Gotham City", "Ignition (Remix)", "If I Could Turn Back the Hands of Time", "The World's Greatest", "I'm a Flirt (Remix)", and the hip-hopera "Trapped in the Closet". In 1998, Kelly won three Grammy Awards for "I Believe I Can Fly". His distinctive sound and style has influenced numerous hip hop and contemporary R&B artists. Kelly became the first music star to play professional basketball, when he got signed in 1997.
Kelly has written, produced, and remixed songs and albums for many artists, including Aaliyah's 1994 debut album Age Ain't Nothing but a Number. In 1996, Kelly was nominated for a Grammy for writing Michael Jackson's song "You Are Not Alone". In 2002 and 2004, Kelly released collaboration albums with rapper Jay-Z and has been a guest vocalist for other hip hop artists like Nas, Sean Combs, and The Notorious B.I.G.
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