Welcome back to Head to Head with Edd, where yours truly goes toe-to-toe with the superfans of the game’s biggest artists. We’ll take a look at the selected artist’s biggest hits and misses and see where we can find common ground.
This week we welcome Cassandra Jordan, one of the most prominent voices in the Soul In Stereo Cypher on Facebook. Today, we break down the highs and lows of one of Cassandra’s favorite artists. Check it out.
Name Keyshia Cole’s three best albums.
1. The Way It Is
2. Just Like You
3. Woman to Woman
Her debut album still gets play from me today. The five singles that were released are really good. “I Changed My Mind” (“Kanye West on the track by the way”), “I Should Have Cheated,” “Love” and “(I Just Want It) To Be Over.” But it didn’t stop there. This whole album had major songs. Her sophomore album Just Like You let you know Keyshia wasn’t just here for a moment. The song quality was better than her debut. Again it’s more to this album than the major singles. Woman to Woman, her fifth album, is so solid and underrated. If you counted her out by the time she released this album then you missed out on a TRUE R&B album. When she released the single “Enough of No Love” I knew she was getting back to what made her a star.
1. Just Like You
2. The Way It Is
3. Woman to Woman
Cassandra pretty much touched on my points – I love Keyshia’s debut and while the album cuts were strong it was the singles that stole the show. But on Just Like You, she proved she was more than just a handful of hot singles. It’s an extremely cohesive release that had me, and nearly everyone else, convinced that Keyshia had the tools to be the centerpiece of R&B in the 2000s. And Woman to Woman is indeed woefully underrated, but more on that later.
What’s Keyshia’s weakest album?
Cassandra: Point of No Return
I still remember the first time I listened to this album. I was confused about where the singing had went. It was nonexistent and not what I’m used to from Keyshia. She sounds pissed off majority of the album. At one point she cussed us out and said “Ain’t this what you wanted?” No, it’s not, LOL. I really feel like that song was for her ex-husband who she was separated from at the time. Curse him out, not your fans.
Edd: Point of No Return
I’ll give Point of No Return some credit – there are some really good songs here. “Believer” is still in rotation, as a matter of fact. But this one is crippled by inconsistency and uneven sequencing. It’s not at all the disaster some painted it as in 2014 but she’s done much better before and since.
What’s the first song that made you a Keyshia Cole fan?
I remember having the Music Choice channel on one day. “Never” came on, which is her first single. This song was on the Barbershop 2 soundtrack as well. I said, “Who is this sampling Luther Vandross’ ‘Never Too Much’ with a rap feature from the original pit bull in a skirt, Eve?” It was that day I became a fan. Keyshia rode that beat!
Edd: “I Changed My Mind”
Funny story, I never knew “Never” was Keyshia’s debut single until years later when I too heard it on Music Choice. I miss those days. Instead, the first Keyshia song I heard was “I Changed My Mind” while visiting family in Va. I loved it instantly but it would be months before I heard it again – this was before the days you could just pull up anything on Spotify. Y’all are so spoiled these days. Eventually, she dropped a video, rekindling my love for the mysterious song I only heard one time previously and making me fan for good.
What’s Keyshia’s best single?
I want to say “Love” being it put her on the map. But more recently I would say “Enough of No Love.” The beat, the video, the lyrics, Lil Wayne’s verses were on point and made sense. It’s actually hard to pick one. I could easily say “Heaven Sent ” or “Let It Go,” as well.
Edd: “I Remember”
This is indeed tough. My personal favorites are probably “I Changed My Mind” or “Heaven Sent,” and I know “Love” gets all the, well, love, since it was her breakout and first platinum seller. But I’m going with “I Remember” – a stirring, well-written ballad that was so moving that the great Aretha Franklin started covering it at her shows. If that’s not a ringing endorsement I don’t know what is.
And your least favorite single is…
Cassandra: “Rick James”
There’s nothing wrong with switching your style up but this song does nothing for me. I still don’t get it, honestly. I don’t know, maybe it would had been cute when the Rick James jokes were fresh?
Edd: “Next Time (Won’t Give My Heart Away)”
Hey now, I liked “Rick James!” It was the second single from her divisive “Point of No Return,” but it was the lead single I had bigger issue with. “Next Time (Won’t Give My Heart Away)” is Keyshia’s typical heartbreak track but this one is lacking the passion and emotion of her previous hits. She just feels like she’s going through the motions on this one.
What’s Keyshia’s most underrated album?
Cassandra: Woman to Woman
It’s a crime how underrated this album is. She was back to true form on this album. I actually never count her out and she proved herself on this album. Now I know they wore “Trust and Believe” out but you really need to hear this record. If you love true R&B it is on this album!!
Edd: Woman to Woman
Yes lord. By 2012 it seemed like many fans had moved on from Keyshia and quite frankly, she seemed to be at a career crossroads. Woman to Woman, a powerful return to form for an artist suffering from misdirection. Powerful singles, incredibly underrated album cuts and a renewed energy proved Keyshia still had a lot left in the tank.
Also that album cover reminds me of the Sting meme.
Keyshia has had several high-profile features. Which is her best?
Cassandra: “Last Night”
Easily “Last Night.” I still remember watching the episode of her reality show when her and Puff were working on a song. Well, Puff thought her vocals were a little lazy. He told her to SING and gave her that look. Truthfully her vocals is what makes that song sooo good.
Edd: “Last Night”
Playa, we’re agreeing too much. People come here for war, not peace! But when you’re right you’re right. I also love that infamous scene from Puff – wish he was around to scream at some of these lackadaisical “vocalists” today. Anyway, Keyshia steals the show on this cut from Puff’s Press Play album. See, a little tough love never hurt anybody. In fact, it makes hits.
Which album cut should have been a single?
Cassandra: “Hey Sexy”
Fun, flirty, and different from her usual love songs. This is an underrated gem and actually would had been perfect for the radio.
Edd: “Tired of Doing Me”
Playa, you keep taking my answers! I was GONNA go with “Hey Sexy” but I’ll switch gears and go with “Tired of Doing Me,” her duet with Tank from Calling All Hearts. It’s the type of track that might not be a crossover pop smash but would anchor itself on R&B charts for months on end.
Keyshia rode the reality show wave long before it was trendy. Did those shows help or hurt her music career?
Cassandra: This one is tough for me. I genuinely fell in love with her voice. She just feels like a homegirl to me. I know I’ve seen some of her earlier reality shows and her most recent stint on Love & Hip-Hop a few years ago. Maybe early on the exposure helped but honestly I don’t think it was needed. She wasn’t a gimmick, she’s the real deal. I didn’t follow her earlier shows, honestly. Her singles early on would had been hits regardless of TV exposure, in my opinion.
Edd: Here’s the thing – I believe Keyshia was a little ahead of the curve when it comes to reality show fame. Let’s be real – if it wasn’t for TV shenanigans, names like Tamar Braxton and Cardi B would be musical footnotes, not legit stars. But their TV success came much later than Keyshia’s and was fueled by the rising power of social media. Keyshia’s success was a little earlier and while her shows were entertaining, they may have made her feel more gimmicky in the eyes of critics than she deserved. Remember, she had hits well before her TV fame, she didn’t NEED a show to be successful. But it the long run, it’s possible that it may have hurt more than helped.
Is Keyshia Cole’s legacy in R&B overrated, underrated or properly rated?
Cassandra: Slightly underrated because her most recent album was pretty good, 11:11 reset. So was Woman to Woman. This woman has hits and not just the released singles. I don’t think her catalog has gotten enough love over the years. Some may not like her singing style but there is pain in her voice that speaks to me. I actually think she can pull a Mary and give us a “Breakthrough” album if she wanted to and remind you what she’s capable of.
Edd: Totally agree. At some point Keyshia became a social media punching bag and I’m not sure why (ESPECIALLY considering some of the no-talents y’all love to hype up on Twitter). She’s boasts several No. 1 hits, a catalog with way more hits than misses and a proven track record to deliver strong R&B. She’s definitely underrated and deserves more praise.
Who did you agree with? Edd or Cassandra? Let us know below.