Beyonce’s father Mathew Knowles says he passed on using R. Kelly for a 1998 collaboration with Destiny’s Child due to both business differences with the singer and his reputation.
The 67-year-old tells Metro.co.uk that when he and the group met with the singer, the girls were around 15- or 16-years-old.
‘I was there, and my former wife Tina was there,’ the music manager said. ‘When they went to the bathroom, Tina would go with them. They did not leave our eyes.’
Knowles said he passed on a collaboration between a then-established R. Kelly – who had hits such as to his name by then such as 1993’s Bump N’ Grind and 1996’s I Believe I Can Fly – and his up-and-coming group due to both business and creative differences.
‘I personally rejected the song, because I didn’t think it was a good song,’ he said of the track, which would have been on the group’s self-titled debut album, which featured Beyonce, Kelly Rowland and then-members LaTavia Roberson and LeToya Luckett. ‘Not just because of [his] reputation – this was around 1998, we had just begun to hear some of those things.’
Knowles said ‘R. Kelly wasn’t cheap’ to collaborate with, as ‘it was $75,000, plus travel costs, so we’re talking $100,000 for a song.’
Knowles noted that at the time R. Kelly ‘was managed by Sony … and [the label] would almost force you to record with [their] artists.’
An insider corroborated Mathew’s account with the outlet, recalling how ‘record labels would ask R. Kelly to write songs for emerging artists as a way to help them break into the industry and he made several requests for Destiny’s Child.
‘Mathew and Tina rejected all of them because they didn’t want him anywhere near the band which is why they are one of the few acts to debut in the 90s without an R. Kelly song in its official discography.’
Between the R. Kelly’s reputation and the business differences, Mathew said ‘it was both of those’ factors that put him off of using his artists to collaborate with him.