Keyshia Cole: Media Killer

Keyshia Cole keeps it 100% real at all times, though some may say "too real.” Cole expresses growth and maturity in her newest project with the sophomore release Just Like You. Leaving a place of hurt, this project is themed around retrospective thoughts and lessons learned. With a smash single on the radio and a new label on the rise, Cole appears to have it together. But from recent media flare-ups, she reveals her intolerance for constant accusations of her alleged relationship with a famed Atlanta rapper and jabs at the wavering future of her BET reality series. Is Cole really satisfied with her current fan base with no desire to reach new prospects? Since our first feel of Cole in 2004, her rawness and candor was recognized. Cole's refusal to submit by tap out to the haggling of press may, in fact, help old and new fans understand the ups and downs of her career and lifestyle – ultimately allowing a deeper and more personal connection between Cole and her supporters. But on the flipside of things, will her attitude come across as disgruntled to audiences and stagger her anticipated super celebrity? Does she need to learn how to turn up the charm and turn down the emotions to stay in the game? Cole will only have it one way: live and direct. We were fortunate enough to build with Ms. Cole in an intimate roundtable discussion. Read on how about her new project and her bone to pick with AllHipHop! Interviewer: Since you've done your reality show, do you feel like you've added to your following or do your same fans just rep you harder? Keyshia Cole: I think it's the same fans that rep me harder, and I think it's also the features I've done, the artists I work with. Interviewer: I wanted to talk to you about the track with Too $hort; I heard it's one of your favorites. How was it working with Too $hort, especially since you come from Oakland? Keyshia: He is definitely a pioneer of Oakland, California and one of the bigger artists that comes from Oakland. It was wonderful. I wanted to get him on the first album, but we got him on this one because obviously I have more creative control on this album. And I was able to do that. I didn't quite have that much control to make a video or make it single. Interviewer: Do you have a particular love for New York City? It seems like they really embraced you from the start. Keyshia: New York was definitely the first one to understand and play my music, and when people in Oakland found out that I was from there – then they were like, "She who?" 'cause I never worked with a Bay Area artist and I just blew up from there. Interviewer: Who did you vote for with the 50 and Kanye Competition? Keyshia: [laughs] You know what? I really liked 50's first album. I really haven't listened to any of 50 albums since then. That was his biggest selling album. Kanye, he's my friend so I'ma go with him. [laughs] Interviewer: What's the most important thing in your life is right now is? Keyshia: Music. My music. My fans. You guys. People who support me. [another journalist begins a question] When is – Keyshia: Isn't it her turn? [points to AHHA] Alternatives: Definitely looking out for the females! That's hot! Keyshia: [laughs] AHHA: You look like a star right now. I haven't had the chance to see you in person, but I have followed your career and it seems like you've grown… Keyshia: Can you take that blog off talking about Jeezy??AHHA: So you don't want to talk about that? Keyshia: If you can get it down. AHHA: I'm sure I can put in a good word for you! Keyshia: Please. AHHA: Should I go with this Young Jeezy thing since you've welcomed it? Keyshia: Okay we can talk about Young Jeezy. AHHA: Are you engaged to Young Jeezy? Keyshia: No. AHHA: Were you ever? Keyshia: No. AHHA: Were you ever in the Bahamas vacationing together? Keyshia: No. AHHA: Back to the album! It's apparent that there's been an extreme growth in this project. You seem very calm and cool – what has changed in your sophomore album? Keyshia: Well, I'm trying to be [calm and cool]. The first thing I did when I came into the business is I thanked God, because I know it's a blessing and He's guided my career. The first day I left Oakland, that was like something that me and Him shared. Plus I can't let it change me, because if it does then it was never really me. And I just pray that even though He blessed me with this opportunity, I still hope He defends and protects me. AHHA: It seems like the last album you were more hurt and on this album you seem happier and there's even a glow about you. What's different in your life? Keyshia: Right! AHHA: The tone is more liberated, like you've learned and although it still hurts, you've moved on. Keyshia: Yeah well this album I have learned a lot and have overcome a lot from my past. My thing was because I know that ladies listen to what I say and they understand what I go through, so my thing was to take care of our business. It's one thing to have a man. It's one thing to have a situation. But it's another thing to be a business woman and take care of what you gotta take care of in your life. Interviewer: On the last album, "Love" really made an impact and was just raw. What track on this album is similar to that song? Keyshia: It's called "I Remember," and it kind of came from that place also. Not saying I'm going through it now but saying that "I remember.” It brought that emotion back. Interviewer: To me, the last album was more about observing and it seems this album is more about reflection. What artist did you listen to when you were growing up that provided the same type of comfort as you do for your fans? Keyshia: Mary. Mary definitely. Anything Mary. There wasn't anyone out like Mary. Interviewer: When people compare you to her, how do you feel? Keyshia: Only because they take that and do what they do with it. But it's definitely a wonderful comparison. Interviewer: Mya is a really big fan of yours and she had a question for you. Keyshia: Mya who??Interviewer: The singer. She wants to know what an R&B vixen like you does on your down time. Keyshia: Oh, Mya! Mya knows me though. Interviewer: We ask our last artist to ask a question for the next artist we interview. Keyshia: Well I have two dogs. A Yorkie and a Maltese: Gizmo and Lyric. Those are my dogs. And I have a big room and I watch TV, and I get tanned.Interviewer: How did you link up with Missy and Kim? Keyshia: How did I link up with Missy and Kim? Actually I wanted to work with Missy since the first album also, but I didn't have a wide budget like that on the last album. Interviewer: I just wanted to know what you learned from Missy and Lil' Kim? Keyshia: What did I learn from them? Um. Nothing really. I'm sorry. [laughs] When Missy came she had this guy put scratches into the record and that was kind of cool. She did that. Lil' Kim did her verse in the studio. Yeah, nothing really.