At a young age Kelly was often sexually abused by a woman who was at least ten years older than himself. Critics praised Kelly for his departure from salacious bedroom songs to embracing vulnerability. The album remains Kelly's biggest selling album to date having sold 8 million copies in the United States and 4 million copies internationally. reached number one on the R&B albums chart, becoming Kelly's third number one album to do so, and entered at number two on the Billboard 200 chart. In December 2001 at the Billboard Music Awards, Kelly confirmed the album's existence and announced the title of the album, The Best of Both Worlds.
"I was too afraid and too ashamed," Kelly wrote in his autobiography about why he never told anyone. Both singles sold 500,000 copies in the United States and were certified Gold by the RIAA. New York Time's Stephen Holden described Kelly as "The reigning king of pop-soul sex talks a lot tougher than Barry White, the father of such fluffed-up pillow talk and along with Marvin Gaye and Donny Hathaway, a major influence on Kelly." In December 1995, Professor Michael Eric Dyson critiqued Kelly's self-titled album for VIBE. It spawned Kelly's second number one hit on the Billboard Hot 100, "I'm Your Angel", a duet with Celine Dion and notable classics such as "When A Woman's Fed Up" (Hot R&B/Hip-Hop: #5) and "If I Could Turn Back The Hands of Time" (Hot 100: #12, UK: #2). During this time, Kelly began working on the follow-up to his fifth studio album TP-2.com, titled Loveland.
In 1991, Kelly signed with Jive Records and teamed with a new group from Chicago called Public Announcement. Later that year Kelly followed that success by releasing his first greatest hits collection The R in R&B Collection Volume 1, the album as well as a DVD collection.
In 2004, Kelly released the ambitious two-disc set Happy People/U Saved Me, with the first disc including feel-good, stepping-inspired tracks, while focusing on gospel and inspirational material on the second disc.
Kelly entered Kenwood Academy in Chicago's Hyde Park neighborhood in the fall of 1981, where he met his music teacher Lena Mc Lin, who encouraged Kelly to perform the Stevie Wonder classic "Ribbon in the Sky" in a high school talent show. Unlike Kelly's previous effort, R., all songs on TP-2was written, arranged, and produced entirely by Kelly. Instead Kelly re-recorded the entire album, titled it Chocolate Factory and featured several of the bootlegged tracks on the bonus Loveland disc.