There may be a drought when it comes female MCs right now, but the streets are definitely feeling Keyshia Cole’s brand of R&B. The powerhouse vocalist who’s often compared to the legendary Mary J. Blige is burning up the airwaves once again with her sophomore album, Just Like You. Seasoned, glowing, and ready to prove herself again, Keyshia Cole sits down with Rap-Up.com and reveals what brought her to this point and how she plans to grow.
Being from Oakland, what was it like for you to work with Too $hort on “Didn’t I Tell You”Â?
He is definitely a pioneer from Oakland, California… One of my favorite artists that comes from Oakland. It was wonderful. I wanted to get him on my first album, but it didn’t work that way. I had more creative control on this album…so I was able to do that.
You tried to get Foxy Brown on your first album and she shrugged you off a couple of times. Do you feel differently now? Would you ever do any future collaborations with her?
I surely would work with Foxy. That’s just the way it is when you come into this business. And business is business. It’s fine, I’m cool with that because I ain’t ever beg nobody for any attention. I actually had recorded one song that I was going to get Foxy on, but it didn’t really work out. I was in between songs like, “I don’t know if I really like it.”Â I didn’t end up doing it, but I would definitely work with Foxy.
Your first album really blew up. How long did it take for people to notice Keyshia Cole?
Two years out. The first single, “I Changed My Mind”Â came out—Kanye came through. He’s been a very good friend of mine. I recorded on his first album, actually. You have to put your work in. It’s not easy and you have to sacrifice some things in your life. The boroughs of New York City—that’s where we really started. “I Changed My Mind”Â was played here [in New York] first. I’m trying to figure out how I can word this right because I am from Oakland, but New York was really the first place to understand and take to my music. Then Oakland was like, “Wow, she’s from here?”Â And then it was on and crackin’.
There’s a huge sense of growth that’s evident on the new album. What has changed in you as a person?
One of the first things I asked God when I got into this business—because I understand he’s blessing and guiding my career—is not to let it change me. Because if it does, I’d rather not be doing it. I’d rather be back at home in the ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‹Å“hood, just chillin’ with my family. It’s good to be here, but it ain’t that serious. I just pray that he helps to protect and shield me.
On the last album, “Love”Â was the track that let your audience feel your emotion in a way that a lot of R&B can’t do nowadays. What’s one track from this new album that you think will parallel “Love”Â?
It’s this song called “I Remember”Â and it comes from that same place. That song is speaking on, “I remember at that time.”Â It’s not saying that I’m going through it now but I do remember. So I think that it brought that emotion back up.
This album seems very reflective. What artist helped you reflect on your love life when you were coming up?
Mary [J. Blige]. Just Mary. There’s nobody else that you could feel like that. Even what she was saying…that didn’t matter. You could just feel it.
What other interests outside of music are you keeping up with right now?
Well, I’d like to own a veterinary hospital. I’d like to become a veterinarian. I’d like to move somewhere where there are trees and land and get married and have a couple of babies. Yeah, that would be nice.