In 2018, singer-songwriter and record producer R Kelly admitted that he was broke in his song "I Admit," released on SoundCloud. The lyrics included:
"Now the truth in this message, is I'm a broke a*s legend."
R Kelly has been under legal and public scrutiny since his alleged marriage to 15-year-old singer Aaliyah in 1995. Amongst several harassment allegations, he has also been accused of engaging in a pedophilic relationship with the late singer.
According to CelebrityNetWorth.com, R Kelly might have been worth around $100 million at the peak of his career.
How much is R Kelly worth now?
Now, in 2021, it seems that R Kelly is actually broke as CelebrityNetWorth.com pegs his net worth at a negative $2 million. According to the site, Kelly claimed that he owed the IRS almost $1.9 million in pending taxes while making a plea for bail in April 2020.
Here's how Twitter reacted to R Kelly's reported net worth in 2021
The revelation of Kelly's fortune and debt spawned several reactions from people surprised to learn that they are worth more than the singer.
How did R Kelly make his fortune?
Robert Sylvester Kelly, professionally known as R Kelly, has been previously dubbed as the "King of Pop-Soul" and "King of R&B" at the peak of his musical career. According to Billboards, Kelly has sold over 75 million records worldwide in the 1990s. His successful record sales made him one of the world's best-selling music artists and the most successful R&B singers of the '90s.
In 1989, R Kelly participated in a televised talent show called Big Break, where he won the grand prize of $100,000. After four years, Kelly debuted his solo album in 1993 after separating from the musical group "Kelly and Public Announcement." The album titled 12 Play had one of the first hit songs of Kelly. The song "Bump N' Grind" charted at the top of the Billboard Hot R&B Singles for 12 weeks.
R Kelly's most famed songs include I Believe I Can Fly, Bump N' Grind, Your Body's Callin', Gotham City If I Could Turn Back the Hands of Time, and The World's Greatest. The 54-year old Illinois native won three Grammys for I Believe I Can Fly (1996), including "Best Male R&B Vocal Performance." He reportedly sold over four million copies of the song.
In 1998, R Kelly founded his record label under Universal's Interscope, named Rockland Records, which featured songs from artists like Sparkle and rappers Boo & Gotti.
He has released 14 studio albums, three albums where he collaborated with others, and five compilation albums. Furthermore, he earned his fortune also from producing songs for other singers, as he did for his late singer Aaliyah.
Kelly also actively toured till 2015 and has earned quite a lot of fortune from the concerts. However, it is assumed that most of his liquidity is spent on legal counsel in court cases for charges against him.