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For fans of mid-tempo 90s R&B hungry from something new, Keyshia Cole is about as close as it gets to Real Love – or the kind of resilient anthems that aim to empower the soul, not just the body, with complex harmonies and life-affirming lyrics.
Top-tier talents Timbaland, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, and J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League produced Cole’s fourth album, which starts with the one-two punch of I Ain’t Thru, with its bouncy beat and girl-power guest rap by (who else?) Nicki Minaj, and standout single Long Way Down.
It then retreats toward a more staid, old-school vibe with the ballad Tired Of Doin’ Me and the throwback jam If I Fall In Love Again, a duet with Faith Evans built on the Isaac Hayes sample used by Biggie on The Warning. The remaining seven tracks bring the requisite fervour but take no chances.
Top track: Long Way Down