R. Kelly's "Ignition" and "I Believe I Can Fly" Return to Charts Following 'Surviving R. Kelly' Series
The artist's most popular recordings have experienced a resurgence on the charts.
In the wake of Lifetime’s six-part Surviving R. Kelly documentary series, which aired on the network from Jan. 3-5, two of the titular artist’s most popular recordings — “Ignition” and “I Believe I Can Fly” — return to the R&B Digital Song Sales chart.
R. Kelly's “Ignition” lands at No. 12 on R&B Digital Song Sales with a 191 percent surge in week-over-week purchases. The single registered 2,000 downloads sold in the week ending Jan. 10, according to Nielsen Music, its best sales week in nearly two years, since it also moved 2,000 copies in the week ending Jan. 12, 2017.
In terms of chart performance, the current No. 12 “Ignition” position is the track’s best showing since it ranked at No. 9 for two straight weeks in April 2013.
“Ignition” served as the lead single for R. Kelly’s 2003 album, Chocolate Factory. The song spent five weeks at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 that spring, blocked from the top by 50 Cent’s “In Da Club.”
Though “Ignition” does not return to the R&B Streaming Songs chart, U.S. clicks of the track also rose sharply following the documentary’s premiere. “Ignition” pulled 3.1 million U.S. on-demand streams in the week ending Jan. 10, according to Nielsen Music, up 37 percent compared with the previous frame.
Meanwhile, another Kelly hit, “I Believe I Can Fly,” also experiences a resurgence. The track debuts at No. 16 on R&B Digital Song Sales with 2,000 copies sold, its highest sales week since the seven-day window ending Feb. 25, 2016.
“Fly,” which featured on the soundtrack to the 1996 film Space Jam, reached No. 2 on the Hot 100 for four weeks — behind Toni Braxton’s “Un-Break My Heart” — and won Kelly three Grammy Awards, including best R&B song.
Beyond the pair, two other Kelly catalog cuts scored noteworthy streaming gains in the tracking window. “Trapped in the Closet,” first released in 2005, clocked 2.7 million U.S. streams (up 194 percent), while the former Hot 100 No. 1, 1994’s “Bump N’ Grind” notched 2.3 million clicks (a 58 percent boost).
The songs’ activity gains help the album The Essential R. Kelly rally to a No. 19 re-entry on the Top R&B Albums chart. It revisits the list for the first time since 2015 and at its highest position since June 2014. Essential also debuts at No. 144 on the Billboard 200 and No. 46 on the Top Catalog Albums chart. The two-disc greatest hits collection earned 7,000 equivalent album units in the week ending Jan. 10, according to Nielsen Music.
“Ignition” and “Fly” are both given detailed mentions in the Surviving R. Kelly documentary, which examines many physical and sexual abuse allegations surrounding the R&B hitmaker in the past 25 years.
This story first appeared on Billboard.com.