How Trapped in the Closet Changed My Life

By Max Sirianni

If you have ever accidentally shot your woman’s brother on his first day out of prison, “Trapped in the Closet” is for you. If you have ever cheated on your wife with the wife of a bisexual pastor, “Trapped in the Closet” will rock your world. Or if you have come home and your woman has a midget in the kitchen cupboard, “Trapped in the Closet” will definitely change your life.
According to R. Kelly, “It’s just something that happens in reality, in life.” If you have ever wanted to see your life in live, musical form, R. Kelly has captured it perfectly. When I first saw “TitC,” I asked the same thing that everyone does: Is he serious?! I just could not believe that an artist had managed to depict my life with such accuracy and vivacity.

Most college students are quite passionate about music, but until last year our generation lacked a uniting and defining artistic work. R. Kelly has changed that. The man known for such hits as “I Believe I Can Fly” and “I’m Your Angel” has pushed the limits of the R & B genre past what anyone has ever known before.
“Trapped in the Closet” is a 45-minute hip-hopera that follows the adventures of Sylvester (played by R. Kelly) through his experiences with cheating, love, violence and midgets. The movie consists of a ton of adultery, a dash of intrigue and just a hint of violence. The climax of the film involves a policeman who, after sleeping with Sylvester’s wife, discovers that his wife’s baby’s daddy is a midget stripper. Accompanying this unorthodox list of characters are a pastor with a gay lover, a spatula-attacking neighbor who is “a G no doubt,” and a thug named Twan, on his first day out of prison. R. Kelly succeeds again and again with his shamelessly accurate depiction of reality.

The video itself (it is also available as audio alone) is twelve chapters long, and the beat never changes. Unlike previous rock-operas, “TitC” captures only a single style of musical accompaniment repeated throughout. Kelly does manage to rhyme the entire way through, which he points out in the commentary for those of you who are too distracted by the plot (at one point Kelly rhymes “closet” with “closet” six times in a row).
All the voices are sung by Kelly, including both Sylvester and the narrator, both of whom he plays in the movie. This seems odd at first, but the intrigue of the plot soon distracts even the most attentive viewer.

Though the film is available online, the advantage of owning it (or borrowing it from me) lies in the commentary, wherein Kelly painstakingly explains the oh-so-simple action as it unfolds; it also gives a behind-the-scenes explanation of the genius that created “Trapped in the Closet.” At one point he mentions, “I really needed a rhyme word for dresser, you know, and Beretta just came out.” It takes true lyrical wit to rhyme dresser with Beretta.

Additionally, the movie is filled to the brim with social commentary and addresses issues that affect us all. Some people might say it is provocative that Rufus is a bisexual pastor sleeping with a deacon; others might say R. Kelly is perpetuating negative Black stereotypes by having everyone sleeping with each other and pulling guns on each other; still others might even say that it is odd that the only White character is dumb, unattractive and has a curious southern accent. No matter what R. Kelly is trying to say, not only does “Trapped in the Closet” entertain us, but it also challenges our basic ideas of society.

The first twelve chapters were released between May and November last year, but there are many more to come. Until then, all we can do is wait and anticipate. Can anyone say midget on goat action? One can only dream…