R&B singer R Kelly has released a 19-minute song called I Admit in which he addresses claims he sexually abused women, including some underage.
The new track begins with the lyrics: “I admit I have made some mistakes. And I have some imperfect ways.”
He goes on to address – and refute – accusations that he has been holding a group of young women in a “cult” atmosphere, something he has previously “unequivocally” denied, as well as allegations around sex crimes with underage girls.
He sings: “I admit I f*** with all the ladies, that’s both older and young ladies. But tell me how they call it paedophile because of that, s**t is crazy.”
The star, best known for the hit I Believe I Can Fly, has been accused of keeping six women at his homes in Atlanta and Chicago and controls them.
According to three former members of Kelly’s inner circle quoted by Buzzfeed, he dictates “what they eat, how they dress, when they bathe, when they sleep, and how they engage in sexual encounters that he records”.
Kelly seems to speak to one of the families who came forward in the cult allegations, saying: “Don’t push your daughter in my face, and tell me it’s okay. ‘Cause your agenda is to get paid, and don’t get mad if it don’t go your way.”
In May, a woman filed a lawsuit against Kelly, accusing the singer of sexual battery, knowingly infecting her with herpes and locking her in rooms for punishment.
The women that are said to be involved in the alleged cult are over the age of 18.
These are not the first claims of criminal behaviour made against Kelly.
He was accused of child pornography after a widely circulated videotape appeared to show him having sex with, and urinating on, a teenage girl.
He was acquitted in 2008 of 14 child pornography charges after a trial that took six years to get to court.
He announced the track released on his Twitter profile with the words “Today is the day you’ve been waiting for” and a selfie.
On I Admit, he sings that he’s “not convicted, not arrested, dragged my name in the dirt. All this work to be successful, when you abandon me ’cause of what you heard.”
In the new song he also alleges he was sexually abused as a child, singing “a family member touched me” and revealing he was “so scared to say something, so I just put the blame on me”.
He also blames dyslexia for mistakes in his contract which he says means he does not own his music, caused him to drop out of school and that he “couldn’t read the teleprompter when the Grammy’s asked me to present (an award)”.
I Admit was not released on Sony’s RCA Records, where R Kelly is signed. The label said it had no comment about the song.
His music was removed from music app Spotify’s curated playlists, with the company telling Billboard: “We don’t censor content because of an artist’s or creator’s behaviour, but we want our editorial decisions – what we choose to programme – to reflect our values.
“When an artist or creator does something that is especially harmful or hateful, it may affect the ways we work with or support that artist or creator.”
The decision, which happened in May, came during the #MuteRKelly social media campaign, which has called for R Kelly’s music to stop being played and his concerts to be cancelled.
R Kelly is one of pop music’s best-selling artists and his hits include Ignition, I Believe I Can Fly, Step in the Name of Love and Bump N’ Grind.
He has also written hits for artists ranging from Celine Dion to Michael Jackson to Lady Gaga.