In a recent magazine interview, R. Kelly, compared himself to Muhammad AliMarvin Gaye, Bob Marley and even the late Martin Luther King Jr. in preparation for the release of his double album entitled; Double Up.

Kelly, the Chicago R&B artist made the comments while being interviewed for the spring and summer issue of Hip-Hop Soul magazine.

The most surprising comment the artist makes is: “I’m the Ali of today.  I’m the Marvin Gaye of today.  I’m the Bob Marley of today. I’m the Martin Luther King, or all the other greats that have come before us.  And a lot of people are starting to realize that now.”

New York Post ran the quote last night and it’s been a hot topic amongst music critics.

Kelly‘s publicist, Regina Daniels, said the interview took place about a month ago. Adding “He doesn’t think he’s Martin Luther King.  He’s comparing the fact that he is a prolific songwriter of his time; now it’s turned into something else.  Whatever Rob said, any way they can stick it to him.  If he breathes it’s a problem.”

The interview and photo shoot took place in the presidential suite of the Hotel Sofitel Chicago Water Tower.  The article also calls Kelly “our generation’s answer to Ray Charles and Marvin Gaye” and “an ambidextrous soul genius.” Kelly‘s quote came in response to this comment from the interviewer. “The things that have been written about you make lesser men wither or simply want to give up..”

And Kelly‘s reply also includes this comment: “So I have to walk with a certain humility. I have to walk with love in my heart for those that hate me. I have to. I have to get out and touch people in order for me to continue to feel the pulse of the world.”

The Rev. James Meeks, the state senator who ministered to Kelly during the early days of his legal case, quoted Scripture: “We should be careful about praising ourselves and leave that to other people. That would be my admonition.”

Kelly spokesman Allan Mayer protested the way the quote was lifted in the Post. “What I would suggest to anybody who is put off by that quote is read the entire interview, which I think much better reflects what Rob was trying to say.”

Kelly will appear in court again Friday for the latest hearing in a case that started nearly five years ago.

Kelly is charged with 14 counts of child pornography for allegedly videotaping himself engaging in sex acts with an underage girl.

The Cook County state’s attorney’s office filed the charges in June 2002 after the Sun-Times turned over a videotape it received anonymously following an article about underage girls suing Kelly for allegedly engaging in sexual relationships with them. Those suits were all settled out of court.