Contagious

Album: Eternal (2001)
Charted: 19

Songfacts®:

  • This R. Kelly written and produced number finds Ron Isley catching his wife with another man. The singer is accompanied by Kelly and R&B singer Chanté Moore, who is best known for her 1996 hit single, "Chanté's Got a Man."
  • The song returned the Isley Brothers to the Top 40 of the pop singles charts after a four year gap. Its rise to #19 meant that the Isleys became the first band to score a Top 50 hit in six consecutive decades on Billboard's Hot 100. They started with "Shout," which reached #47 in 1959.
  • Ron Isley goes down memory lane after singing, "The down low happened to me all over again" during the middle of the second verse. He is referencing R Kelly's 1996 hit single, "Down Low (Nobody Has to Know)" that had a similar concept about infidelity, and which also featured The Isley Brothers.
  • The song concludes with Ron Isley warming the cheating couple: "Now I think you all better leave this place. Cause I'm about to catch a case." Isley admitted to Rock Genius that he didn't know what 'catch a case' meant. "I would do it on the stage and everyone would scream," he recalled. "I was saying 'what are you talking about catch a case?' Then I realized, someone told me 'you catch a case in jail. Catch a case means you're going to jail - you caught this case.' Maybe that's something I shouldn't even tell. R Kelly just laughed his head, just fell on the floor laughing at me."
  • This won the 2002 Soul Train Music Award for Best R&B/Soul Single, Group, Band or Duo.
  • During the third verse, Ron Isley confronts the cheating couple and Kelly, singing the lines said by the girl's lover, refers to the singer as 'Mr Biggs.'

    Mr. Biggs is an alias Ron Isley started using in 2001 with the release of Eternal, which was credited to "The Isley Brothers featuring Ronald Isley aka Mr. Biggs." Isley was positioning himself as a sort of boss figure in the world of Hip-Hop/R&B - a musician who remained not only relevant, but revered by the younger artists he inspired.

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