September 13, 2007
November 29, 2008
Total Songs Added:
Sexy, but down to earth approachable Vulnerable, yet fiercely confident Romantic, but taking no s***t!...That's Keyshia Cole. And, like the title of her smash new album, Keyshia Cole is still Just Like You.
Just Like You is only Keyshia Cole's second album, but it represents a milestone of sorts. By now, Keyshia is no stranger to success: her 2005 debut album, The Way It Is, made her a superstar. The Way It Is not only sold over 1.5 million copies, but was embraced by critics and fans alike: The New York Times called it "one of the highlights of 2005 Ms. Cole's own voice [sounds] so hot it seemed to burn her throat." But the heat didn't stop there.
With the release of the slamming first single from Just Like You, the Missy Elliot- produced "Let it Go," featuring Elliott and Lil' Kim, the 26-year-old Keyshia Cole became the first female in the history of the 14-year old Nielson BDS-based Urban chart to land three consecutive 1 chart positions. "Let It Go," follows "I Should Have Cheated," which topped the list in December 2005, and "Love," from April 2006.
In addition to this Keyshia Cole was the featured vocalist on two more worldwide chart-topping smashes: With Sean Paul, she sprung to 1 with "(When You Gonna) Give It Up To Me" and with Diddy she garnered another 1 smash with the award-nominated "Last Night."
Just Like You, packed with songs destined to be massive, features production from an all-star team of seasoned hitmakers like Geffen Chairman Ron Fair, Scott Storch, The Runners, and Bryan-Michael Cox. The album's second single, "Shoulda Let You Go," features a classic Keyshia Cole tale of heartbreak and betrayal set to a certified club banger courtesy of mega-producer Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins.
More than anything, Just Like You represents the growth and diversity of Cole's talent. "Didn't I Tell You" pairs Cole with her Oak-town homey Too-$hort for a bass-booming rap/R&B hybrid, pointly telling an ex "she can't love you like I do."
Cole also reps her current homebase of Atlanta by showing her flair with home-cooked Southern grooves: "Losing You" finds her holding her own against the soulful twang of Anthony Hamilton, while the thumping "Let it Go" remix features Hotlanta's own Young Dro and the "King of the South" himself, T.I.
"Fallin' Out," meanwhile, is a beautiful piano-driven ballad of independence, where Cole transforms hurt to power with intimate, inspirational vocalizing that could've come from another time. On every song Cole sings her heart out in a way that's not trendy, but timeless: don't be surprised if the stirring "I Remember" produced by the same producer that gave us the soul-wrenching "Love," gets played at proms well into eternity.
"A lot of people hearing the new album say it's a classic R&B record," explains Fair, who produced most of Cole's vocals on both her albums. "With Keyshia-she's just following her impulses and expressing herself. I signed her because I heard a cry in her voice, a passion that moved me. But I didn't know at the beginning that she'd have that 'voice of a generation' thing. She is really turning into a cultural force."
Keyshia Cole's "voice of a generation" status stems largely from her audience's passionate identification with her story. "I've been through a lot of trials and tribulations in my lifetime and that reflects in my music," Keyshia herself explains. Both the hurt and hope in Cole's voice comes from a very real place-the mean streets of the Oakland ghetto, where she would become friends with urban icons like Tupac and MC Hammer. Proximity to such stars didn't help much, though. Cole was born into a family of seven brothers and sisters, but didn't get to know most of her family due to her mother's involvement in drugs and prostitution. Placed in foster care at just two years old, it would be years before she saw her biological mother, who ultimately ended up in prison. When the family did re-connect, it proved traumatic and was aired out on television.
Keyshia Cole's reconciliation with her mother was viewed by millions of fans who followed the first season of her revealing BET reality show, "The Way It Is," (Season 2 was also a great success in 2007) which put the "real" into "reality" and demonstrate both the vulnerability and determination that makeup Cole's beloved persona: as a result, her raw, truthful presence on the small screen only expanded her fanbase, giving them even more to identify with. The fact that Cole could have a hit TV show is a testament to her status as a survivor and role model; not only has she survived, she has triumphed, with new achievements piling up every day.
Just Like You and "The Way It Is 2" aren't the only things Keyshia Cole has been working on, She also starred as herself in a MTV movie early this year, "The Way She Moves." In addition, she also took a page from her past collaborators Diddy and Kanye by making moves into mogul territory. With her manager Manny Halley, Cole has jumpstarted her own imprint, Imani Entertainment and the label's first signing, the female rapper, Amina, makes a blazing debut on Just Like You's "Shoulda Let You Go." "Keyshia already serves as her own A&R person, picking producers and beats," says Ron Fair. "She has a great sense of who she is and what her fans want so she will make a great label head."
Above all, Keyshia Cole is keenly conscious of her status as a role model. As such, Just Like You's title track, proves doubtly inspirational: in it, Cole both gives thanks to the Lord and lets her fans know that if she can make it against all odds, they can, too. She's been through abandonment, heartache, and she's learned to turn catastrophe into advantage. "I want to be an example for young people, especially growing up in the 'hood, because it's already hard enough to not be focused, to not try," states Cole. And on Just Like You, Keyshia Cole does just that-and so much more..