The Lane: R. Kelly’s “Gotham City Remix”

A Mitsubishi Galant LS is the furthest thing from the Batmobile, but that’s what I imagined while driving my mother’s metallic-painted V6.

Every time I got the privilege to sit behind its wheel, sunk low in its houndstooth interior seats, I envisioned myself as The Dark Knight rolling the streets in his signature vehicle. The Galant dashboard was loaded with a number of buttons to engage various functions – overdrive, circular air, recliner presets. The only ones that concerned me, though, operated the multi-disk CD changer.

My mom’s travel selection wasn’t much for variety. Hitting eject would always reacquaint me with Mississippi Mass Choir, a least one disk of the Luther Vandross: The Best of Love set, and something by Sade. For me all things Wu-Tang were in heavy rotation, along with De La Soul, A Tribe Called Quest, OutKast, Snoop Dogg, Mary J. Blige… Basically, I had number of disks I preferred to what my mother was rolling with. Among them was a new single by R. Kelly.

Kelly hit a home run with the soulful pop smash “I Believe I Can Fly” for hit movie Space Jam, so it came as no surprise he went hard again with “Gotham City” for Batman & Robin. I wasn’t a fan of the original version of this song, but its more urban remix struck an immediate cord with me.

Totally engaged by its swollen bass line and melodic groove, his first five words spoke directly to me: “I ain’t got no money,” he sang. As simply stated as it was, I related wholeheartedly. I was whipping my mother’s car when not walking or bumming rides, working minimal hours at a part-time job while longing for the day I could purchase my own “Batmobile”.

I’d drive from neighborhood to ‘hood keeping close tally of the amount of gas I used and would have to refill, beating the speakers near max with this R. Kelly joint as I cruised through. The way he sang it, it felt as though he connected himself. He sang on that he “took this remix and rearranged Gotham City,” but R. Kelly couldn’t refigure the details of his own past. At some point he lived those words. They were obviously personal. His flashback mirrored how I felt at that present time. Where I was in my life then, I was desperate for a remix.

Lets go down memory lane!

–Mr. Joe Walker

Mr. Joe Walker, a senior contributor for SoulTrain.com, is an acclaimed entertainment and news journalist published thousands of times regionally, nationally, internationally, and online. Former Editor In Chief of both XPOZ Magazine and The Underwire Interactive Magazine, his work has graced the pages and covers of Hear/Say Now Magazine, Notion Magazine, Kalamazoo Gazette Newspaper, MLive.com, and AllHipHop.com. He loves to create, loves that you read. Follow him on Twitter @mrjoewalker. Also visit TheGrooveSpt.com and ByMrJoeWalker.blogspot.com.

 

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