R. Kelly plays woman like a cello on 'Black Panties' album cover

R Kelly's "Black Panties" album cover

R Kelly's "Black Panties" album cover.

For being such an eccentric and risque artist, R. Kelly, the mind behind “Trapped in the Closet,” has played it pretty safe on his album covers over the years.

Until now.

The cover for Kelly’s upcoming 12th studio album, “Black Panties,” features the Chicago R&B singer using a bow to play a topless woman like a cello. While Kelly is wearing a fedora and Phantom of the Opera-like mask, his scantily clad friend is wearing only black boots and panties, appropriately enough.

And then there’s the cover for the deluxe version of the album.

This cover features the self-proclaimed “Pied Piper of R&B” wearing what looks like silk pajamas and lying comfortably in a pile of at least 10 women, which I assume is the only way Kelly can fall asleep. And like the cello stand-in on the cover of the standard album, these females are wearing black panties.

Both covers are a departure from Kelly’s previous album covers, which mostly featured Kelly alone and in sunglasses and looked like any other R&B album.

“Black Panties” includes songs with titles such as “Legs Shakin,” “Throw This Money on You,” “Crazy Sex” and one about marrying a female body party. The album features cameos from Ludacris, Kelly Rowland and 2 Chainz and is scheduled to hit stores Dec. 10.

lgomez@tribune.com | Twitter @TribLuis

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