Born Into the 90's Wearing one's influences ain't a crime, but making a suit out of them is. R. Kelly, who has a huge R&B hit with Born Into… Born Into the 90's Wearing one's influences ain't a crime, but making a suit out of them is. R. Kelly, who has a huge R&B hit with Born Into… R. Kelly and Public Announcement
Music Review

Born Into the 90's (1992)

EW's GRADE
D+

Details Lead Performance: R. Kelly and Public Announcement

Wearing one's influences ain't a crime, but making a suit out of them is. R. Kelly, who has a huge R&B hit with Born Into the 90's, sounds as if he has been locked in his room for the last 10 years listening to every record by Teddy Riley and his group, Guy. Kelly's get-down songs are predictable, new-jack formula (the almost comical ''Keep It Street,'' about how baaad R. is). ''She's Got That Vibe'' is little more than a shameless rip-off of Guy singer Aaron Hall's distinctive gospel-infused tenor set to a standard-issue beat; sure, it moves, but any fool can sequence a groove that's dope enough to make you dance, especially if he's stealing it. The slow jams are equally dull. Inspirational verses include ''Your body's like a lemon drop/Sure taste good to me,'' as R. offers on ''Honey Love'' to take his candy cutie to the mall as part of his hapless seduction — Oh, hold me back, I think I'm in love. The real crime is that Kelly, who wrote, produced, and sang all the cuts, seems to have talent (at least the CD bonus cut, ''Hey Love,'' has an air of originality to it) but brings absolutely nothing new to the R&B mix. D+

Originally posted May 15, 1992 Published in issue #118 May 15, 1992 Order article reprints