Chocolate Factory

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This article is about an album. For the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory franchise, see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (disambiguation).
Chocolate Factory
Studio album by R. Kelly
Released February 17, 2003
Recorded Rockland Studios, CRC; Chicago
Genre R&B, soul, neo soul[1]
Length 76:26
Label Jive, Sony
Producer R. Kelly
R. Kelly chronology
TP-2.com
(2000)
Chocolate Factory
(2003)
Happy People/U Saved Me
(2004)
Singles from Chocolate Factory
  1. "Ignition"
    Released: October 22, 2002
  2. "Snake"
    Released: December 15, 2002
  3. "Step in the Name of Love"
    Released: 2003

Chocolate Factory is the fifth studio album by American R&B recording artist R. Kelly, released on February 17, 2003, by Jive Records. Recording sessions for the album took place mainly at Rockland Studios and Chicago Recording Company in Chicago. It was primarily written, arranged, and produced by R. Kelly. Chocolate Factory was conceived by Kelly amid controversy over his sex scandal at the time.

The album debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200 chart, selling over 532,000 copies in its first week. It achieved success in international markets and produced three singles that attained chart success, including US and UK hits "Snake" and "Step in the Name of Love", and international hit "Ignition (Remix)". Chocolate Factory was well received by most music critics, receiving rave reviews from publications such as The New York Times and USA Today. The album has sold over three million copies worldwide and received sales certifications in the United States and the United Kingdom.

Background[edit]

Recording sessions for the album took place primarily at Rockland Studios and Chicago Recording Company in Chicago.[2] Other recording locations included the Record Plant, in Los Angeles, California, Soup Can Music in Harper Woods, Michigan, and Vanguard Studios in Oak Park, Michigan.[2] Chocolate Factory was written, arranged, and produced entirely by R. Kelly, with the exception of "Who's That", co-written by rapper Fat Joe.[2] It was released February 18, 2003 on Jive Records, following a year of controversy for a now-infamous videotape alleged to show Kelly and an underage girl having sex.[1][3]

Music and lyrics[edit]

Chocolate Factory comprises slow jams and upbeat club tracks, and many of its songs draw on classic soul music with call-and-response choruses and harmonies inspired by the Temptations, Marvin Gaye, and Stevie Wonder. Kelly's vocals veer between singing and rapping. Kelefa Sanneh of The New York Times writes that he "pack[s] his verses full of words, then improvise[s] a tricky vocal line around a simple tune."[4]

Most of the album's lyrics focuses on romance. On "Forever", Kelly croons about an exaggerated fantasy of the married life, with "a picket fence, dog and a house / About 12 kids, you're cooking me breakfast in the morning, I'm taking the garbage out." The lively "Ignition (Remix)" is a lustful song built on automotive double-entendres.[4]

Commercial performance[edit]

Chocolate Factory was first released by Jive Records on February 17, 2003, in the United Kingdom,[5] and then on February 18 in the United States.[6] It debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200 chart, with first-week sales of over 532,000 copies.[3] After the release of Kelly's hit single, "Ignition (Remix)", which peaked at number two on the Billboard Hot 100, the album went on to sell over 2.72 million copies in the United States.[7] Other hits released off of Chocolate Factory included "Snake" featuring Big Tigger, which peaked at #16, and the classic soul-inspired "stepper's anthem", "Step in the Name of Love", which peaked at #9.[citation needed] The album's packaging design is very similar to the design of Parliament's Chocolate City album.[citation needed]

On May 19, 2003, it was certified double platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), for shipments in excess of two million copies in the United States.[6] Chocolate Factory has also been certified gold by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) for shipments in excess of 100,000 copies in the United Kingdom.[5] It has sold over three million copies worldwide.[8]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3.5/5 stars[1]
Entertainment Weekly B−[9]
Los Angeles Times 2.5/4 stars[10]
Mojo 4/5 stars[11]
Q 2/5 stars[12]
Rolling Stone 3/5 stars[13]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 4/5 stars[14]
Slant Magazine 2/5 stars[15]
USA Today 3.5/4 stars[16]
Vibe 4/5 stars[17]

Chocolate Factory received generally positive reviews from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 65, based on 10 reviews, which indicates "generally favorable reviews".[18] Kelefa Sanneh of The New York Times found the album "elegant and strange".[4] Mojo stated, "Chocolate Factory seems positively inspired... An impressively varied opus",[11] and BBC Online stated "[Kelly] doesn't sound like a man with the weight of the world on his shoulders, but a revived soul in spiritual euphoria."[19] Sterling Clover of The Village Voice noted the album's "quantity and consistency of sonic presence" and praised Kelly's performance with respect to his songs' structures, stating "Kelly has sussed how to ground himself in tight rhythmic bass and a solid backup chorus, refiguring them into layered and discontinuous sheets of sound".[20] Rolling Stone '​s Anthony DeCurtis cited Chocolate Factory as "among the best work of his career" and went on to write "... as a singer, songwriter and producer, he's at the top of his game."[13]

In a mixed review, Slant Magazine's Sal Cinquemani wrote that "Kelly's songwriting skills leave much to be desired; for every hook-driven 'You Knock Me Out' there's a 'Showdown,' an asinine, interlude-filled insult to songwriters everywhere".[15] Q wrote that "as ever, [the album's] songs veer between the nigglingly infectious and cliched slush."[12] Chicago Tribune writer Greg Kot viewed that "the subtext for this one makes it sound like musical spin control, a public-relations manifesto as much as an R&B album. [...] There are a few moments when the disconnect between Kelly's lyrics and his sordid legal troubles becomes disturbing, no more so than when he refers to himself as the 'pied piper of R&B' in 'Step in the Name of Love,' a reference to the fairy-tale figure who enticed a village full of children away from their parents".[21] Dan Leroy of Yahoo! Music's felt that "Kelly’s hot-blooded horniness is an integral part of his persona; he can hardly back away from the risque R&B that’s made him what he is, despite the underage sex scandal that dogs him".[22] On Kelly's performance, Leroy concluded by writing:

In the end, though, it’s R’s musical genius that pulls his bare butt out of this fire. Channeling greats from Gaye to Wonder, his stripped-down bangers bang harder, his ballads have more gospel bluster, and he sings with the desperation of a loveman who knows the cops are waiting at his bedroom door.[22]

The A.V. Club '​s Nathan Rabin wrote that Kelly "stitches" his "hopelessly cheesy" come-ons and "honeyed promises ... together with such craft and invests them with such conviction that they become a strange sort of pulp poetry", adding that he "matches his shamelessness with a gift for crafting melodies that burrow their way into listeners' subconscious with almost sadistic force".[23] Keith Harris of The Rolling Stone Album Guide (2004) wrote that by the album's release, Kelly had "apparently learned from Michael Jackson's publicity mistakes, because the new Kelly was less haunted, if no less horny. The hit 'Ignition (Remix)' was his warmest pick-up joint to date, and set the tone for the new record—and maybe a new stage in his career".[14]

Accolades[edit]

The album was included in Rolling Stone '​s 50 Best Albums of 2003.[24] Chocolate Factory was ranked in several "End of Year" lists, including Blender magazine's 2003 Albums of the Year List at number 12 and The Village Voice '​s Pazz & Jop Critics' Poll at number 44.[24][25] Three New York Times staff writers included it on their top ten lists for 2003.[26][27][28]

Chocolate Factory was nominated for the 2004 Grammy Award for Best Contemporary R&B Album, and "Step in the Name of Love" was nominated for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance.[29] Rhapsody named it the second best R&B album of the first decade of the 21st century.[30] Billboard magazine ranked Chocolate Factory at number 169 on its list of the Top 200 Albums of the Decade.[31]

Track listing[edit]

All songs were written, produced, and arranged by R. Kelly, except "Who's That", which was co-written by Fat Joe.

No. Title Length
1. "Chocolate Factory"   3:50
2. "Step in the Name of Love"   5:42
3. "Heart of a Woman"   4:31
4. "I'll Never Leave"   3:45
5. "Been Around the World" (feat. Ja Rule) 4:05
6. "You Made Me Love You"   4:34
7. "Forever"   4:06
8. "Dream Girl"   3:57
9. "Ignition"   3:16
10. "Ignition (Remix)"   3:06
11. "Forever More"   3:33
12. "You Knock Me Out"   4:10
13. "Step in the Name of Love (Remix)"   7:12
14. "Imagine That"   4:38
15. "Showdown" (feat. Ronald Isley) 7:54
16. "Snake" (feat. Big Tigger) 4:51
17. "Who's That" (feat. Fat Joe) 3:33

Loveland[edit]

In special edition U.S. copies of Chocolate Factory, the seven-track EP Loveland was included as a bonus disc.

Personnel[edit]

Credits for Chocolate Factory adapted from Allmusic.[32]

Charts[edit]

Chart (2003) Peak
position
Canadian Albums Chart 14
Dutch Albums Chart[33] 25
French Albums Chart[34] 18
German Albums Chart[35] 18
Swiss Albums Chart[36] 24
UK Albums Chart[37] 10
US Billboard 200[38] 1
US Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums[38] 1
Preceded by
Get Rich or Die Tryin' by 50 Cent
Billboard 200 number-one album
March 2, 2003 - March 8, 2003
Succeeded by
Come Away With Me by Norah Jones

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Sales/shipments
United Kingdom (BPI)[39] Gold 100,000^
United States (RIAA)[40] 3× Platinum 3,000,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone
xunspecified figures based on certification alone

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Henderson, Alex. Review: Chocolate Factory. Allmusic. Retrieved on 2009-08-05.
  2. ^ a b c Track listing and credits as per liner notes for Chocolate Factory album
  3. ^ a b R Kelly timeline. Chicago Tribune. Retrieved on 2009-08-05.
  4. ^ a b c Sanneh, Kelefa. Review: Chocolate Factory. The New York Times. Retrieved on 2009-08-05.
  5. ^ a b "Certified Awards Search: R Kelly (albums)". BPI. Retrieved June 19, 2010. 
  6. ^ a b Gold & Platinum - Searchable Database: Chocolate Factory. Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Retrieved on 2009-10-31.
  7. ^ "R. Kelly Music News & Info". Billboard.com. Retrieved 2012-02-09. 
  8. ^ Staff. R Kelly Biography. Contactmusic.com. Retrieved on 2010-10-31.
  9. ^ Sinclair, Tom. Review: Chocolate Factory. Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved on 2009-08-05.
  10. ^ Nichols, Natalie. Review: Chocolate Factory. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved on 2009-08-05.
  11. ^ a b "Review: Chocolate Factory". Mojo (London): 100. May 2003. 
  12. ^ a b "Review: Chocolate Factory". Q (London): 109. May 2003. 
  13. ^ a b DeCurtis, Anthony (2003-01-14). "Chocolate Factory". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 2003-03-27. Retrieved 2012-05-12. 
  14. ^ a b Harris, Keith. "Review: Chocolate Factory". Rolling Stone: 448. November 2, 2004.
  15. ^ a b Cinquemani, Sal. Review: Chocolate Factory. Slant Magazine. Retrieved on 2009-08-05.
  16. ^ Jones, Steve. Review: Chocolate Factory. USA Today. Retrieved on 2009-08-05.
  17. ^ Murphy, Keith. "Review: Chocolate Factory". Vibe: 173–174. April 2003.
  18. ^ Chocolate Factory (2003): Reviews. Metacritic. Retrieved on 2009-08-05.
  19. ^ Review: Chocolate Factory. BBC Online. Retrieved on 2010-10-31.
  20. ^ Clover, Sterling. Review: Chocolate Factory. The Village Voice. Retrieved on 2009-08-05.
  21. ^ Kot, Greg (February 16, 2003). Review: Chocolate Factory. Chicago Tribune. Retrieved on 2010-10-31.
  22. ^ a b Leroy, Dan. Review: Chocolate Factory. Yahoo! Music. Retrieved on 2009-08-05.
  23. ^ Rabin, Nathan. Review: Chocolate Factory. The A.V. Club. Retrieved on 2009-08-05.
  24. ^ a b Acclaimed music: Chocolate Factory rankings
  25. ^ Rocklist.net: Village Voice 2003
  26. ^ Sanneh, Kelefa. The Albums and Songs of the Year. The New York Times. Retrieved on 2009-08-05.
  27. ^ Strauss, Neil. The Albums and Songs of the Year. The New York Times. Retrieved on 2009-08-05.
  28. ^ Ratliff, Ben. The Albums and Songs of the Year. The New York Times. Retrieved on 2009-08-05.
  29. ^ Product Page: Chocolate Factory. Muze. Retrieved on 2010-10-31.
  30. ^ "Best R&B Albums of the Decade" Retrieved 12 January 2010.
  31. ^ "Best of the 2000s - Billboard 200 Albums". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media. Retrieved December 16, 2009. 
  32. ^ Credits: Chocolate Factory. Allmusic. Retrieved on 2010-10-30.
  33. ^ "Discografie R. Kelly". Dutchcharts.nl. Retrieved June 20, 2010. 
  34. ^ "Discographie R. Kelly" (in French). Lescharts.com. Retrieved June 20, 2010. 
  35. ^ "Chartverfolgung / KELLY,R. / Longplay" (in German). Musicline.de. Retrieved June 20, 2010. 
  36. ^ "Discographie R. Kelly" (in German). Hitparade.ch. Retrieved June 20, 2010. 
  37. ^ "R Kelly". ChartStats.com. Retrieved June 19, 2010. 
  38. ^ a b "R. Kelly > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums". allmusic. Retrieved October 31, 2010. 
  39. ^ "British album certifications – R. Kelly – Chocolate Factory". British Phonographic Industry.  Enter Chocolate Factory in the field Search. Select Title in the field Search by. Select album in the field By Format. Click Go
  40. ^ "American album certifications – R. Kelly – Chocolate Factory". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH

Bibliography[edit]

  • Nathan Brackett, Christian Hoard (eds.) (2004). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide: Completely Revised and Updated 4th Edition. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8. 

External links[edit]