By the time Lady Gaga called on R. Kelly for a collaboration, his scandalous reputation had been in the headlines for decades. It was back in 1994 that a 27-year-old Kelly illegally married 15-year-old singer Aaliyah, a union that was later annulled. What followed were years of accusations of sexual misconduct, under the table payoffs to alleged victims, sex cult claims, domestic violence allegations, and a child pornography trial where the famed musician was found not guilty of the charges set against him.
In 2013, a then-27-year-old Lady Gaga released her third studio album ARTPOP. The second single from the record was “Do What U Want” featuring Kelly, a racy track with lyrics like “Do what you want, what you want with my body / Do what you want, don’t stop, let’s party.” Gaga performed the song live on television with Kelly multiple times, including a duet at the 2013 American Music Awards. However, Gaga pulled the song from streaming services five days after the premiere of Lifetime’s Surviving R. Kelly docuseries, claiming that she created the track during a “dark time” when she hadn’t dealt with her own “trauma.”
“As a victim of sexual assault myself, I made both the song and the video at a dark time in my life,” she said at the time. “My intention was to create something extremely defiant and provocative because I was angry and still hadn’t processed the trauma that had occurred in my own life. I’m sorry, both for my poor judgment when I was young, and for not speaking out sooner.”
Now, it’s being reported that Gaga is releasing versions of ARTPOP vinyl, and she’s removed the song from the tracklist. It doesn’t look as if the song will be returning to streaming services anytime soon, either. It’s as if the song never existed. Back in March, Kelly commented on Gaga apologizing for collaborating with him. “Working with Lady Gaga, she’s a very great talent and all and it’s unfortunate that her intelligence go to such a short level when it comes to that,” he said.