Music: Did Video Kill the Rap CD?

R. Kelly and Jay-Z were poised to make hip-hop history until a disturbing tape upstaged them

In January Def Jam and Jive Records threw a joint press conference to congratulate themselves on their good fortune: Def Jam's top artist, rapper Jay-Z--the multimillion-selling kingpin of the genre--and Jive's top R.-and-B. singer, R. Kelly--whose schizoid canon runs between gospel-infused hits like I Believe I Can Fly and bedroom numbers on the order of Like a Freak--were collaborating on an album. Synergy isn't a science, but given the platinum pedigrees of both artists, the album, The Best of Both Worlds, could plausibly have become the first hip-hop record to sell 1 million copies in its first week of release.

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