Down Low (Nobody Has to Know)

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For other uses, see Down-low (disambiguation).
"Down Low (Nobody Has to Know)"
Single by R. Kelly featuring The Isley Brothers
from the album R. Kelly
Released December 11, 1995
Format CD single, cassette single
Recorded 1995
Genre R&B, slow jam
Label Jive Records
Writer(s) R. Kelly
Producer(s) R. Kelly
R. Kelly featuring The Isley Brothers singles chronology
"You Remind Me of Something"
(1995)
"Down Low (Nobody Has to Know)"
(1995)
"I Can't Sleep Baby (If I)"
(1996)

"Down Low (Nobody Has to Know)" is an R&B song about infidelity, released as a single by R. Kelly and featuring The Isley Brothers, on his self-titled album, in 1995. The song was a hit, peaking at number four on the Billboard Hot 100 and reaching number one on the R&B Singles Chart for seven weeks, making it Kelly's fifth single to do so on the latter.

The music video was directed by Hype Williams.[citation needed] The song was a tongue-in-cheek song that had the narrator fooling around with another man's woman and telling the woman to keep their relationship as a closely guarded secret, hence the chorus "Keep it on the down low / Nobody has to know." While Kelly sings along, the "husband", Ronald Isley, sings in his trademark falsetto exclaiming "How could you go so low?"

Music video[edit]

The music video to the song was as popular as the song. It was one of Kelly's first self-directed videos, and was the first large-scale video Kelly had done. Introducing Isley as the character Mr. Frank Biggs, a mob boss who employs Kelly. Mr. Biggs sends for Kelly, telling him he's going on a business trip and wants Kelly to take care of his wife, Lila Heart (played by Garcelle Beauvais), explaining "You know Lila means everything to me", even leaving him money to take her out. Biggs tells Kelly "take her out, take her shopping, give her anything she wants, but you are never to touch her." Kelly replies "hey man, you can trust me," in which Biggs responds, "don't fuck me, Kelly". Kelly plays out the lyrics to the song by having Mr. Biggs go out of town on business while Kelly and Lila go out on the town. At one point, Lila shows up at Kelly's home where they make love, despite the warning Mr. Biggs gave Kelly about not getting physically involved with her.

Later that night, Biggs and his bodyguards break into the room. Kelly and Mr. Biggs's bodyguards fight; after injuring Kelly, the bodyguards turn on Lila. Dropping Kelly off in a desert location, bloodied and beaten, Mr. Biggs angrily gloats, "I did this to you!" and then, hitting him with a sledgehammer, leaves Kelly stranded out in the middle of nowhere. Later taken to a hospital where he rests in a wheelchair, Kelly discovers a badly beaten Lila in a nearby room and goes in to see her heavily sedated in intensive care. After Kelly tearfully tells her he loves her, Lila squeezes Kelly's hand, then succumbs to her injuries, ending the video.

This song, along with TLC's smash hit "Creep" and Brian McKnight's "On The Down Low" incorporates the "down low" theme as it can be used to refer to men sleeping around with married women.

The success of the video shown on both MTV and BET helped send the song to number-four pop and number-one R&B, giving the Isley Brothers their first Top 40 pop record since 1980's "Don't Say Goodnight (It's Time For Love)", reviving the career of the group's front man Ronald Isley, who later used "Mr. Biggs" as his moniker, and was Kelly's third top 10 pop record.

Pop culture references[edit]

The song appeared in the tenth episode of the first season of the sitcom Moesha and the 2003 film "Old School".

This video is loosely based on the 1946 noir classic Gilda, and the Kevin Costner film, Revenge.

The Isley Brothers and R. Kelly released a follow-up to "Down Low" in 2001 entitled "Contagious". In both the song and music video, Mr. Biggs returns home to find his new girlfriend (played by Chante Moore) having an affair with Kelly.

Personnel[edit]

Charts[edit]

(1996) Position
U.S. Billboard Hot 100[1] 4

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Billboard Top 100 - 1996". Retrieved 2010-08-27. 

External links[edit]

See also[edit]