When Keyshia Cole hit the scene with her album The Way It Is in 2005 she was instantly compared to Mary J Blige because of the similarities in their lyrics and the subjects of their most popular songs. Some people aren't fans of those he-did-me-wrong-a-trillion-times-and-I've-found-the-strength-to-leave songs but, on the other hand there are others who are including myself. I was practically raised on Mary J and when Keyshia first came out I could see where the comparisons came from even though there is only one Mary J Blige.
While on the air with Power 105.1's The Breakfast Club Keyshia was questioned about a statement K. Michelle allegedly said in an interview:
Charlamagne: "Its a young lady named K. Michelle. Do you even know who that is?"
Keyshia Cole: "Yes"
Charlamagne: "She said that you have issues with her, that you throw shots at her on twitter and she doesn't understand why you have a problem with her."
Keyshia Cole: "Really? Last time I talked to K. Michelle she didn't say that. We're good I mean you know I feel like when I cam in the business you have that somebody that you're like "she set limits for me and know [let me know] that I could reach that plateau" and I feel like I am that for K. Michelle like Mary was that for me."
I will say that I like the way Keyshia handled the question. A few years ago the singer was known to be a little hot tempered and I think this was a subliminal test to see how she would react. She could have taken this offensively on air and it would have turned into a full blown beef. Who is to say she didn't leave there angry with a vengeance though?
NOW on to my opinion about her actual response. About a year or two ago the two singers had a little falling out on Twitter that fellow singer Monica, a mutual acquaintance helped them work through.
Keyshia Cole is 30, K. Michelle is in her mid twenties. These artists grew up on the same music more specifically that of Mary J Blige, Whitney Houston, Anita Baker and so on and so forth. I think that Keyshia Cole reached for homage with her analogy of being to K. Michelle what Mary J Blige was to her.
In the last few months K. Michelle has gained more recognition because of her involvement with Love & Hip Hop Atlanta rather than the raw talent that she is. From the first time the show aired people who knew nothing about her music immediately compared their looks saying that the two of them favor. I keep forgetting to get my eyes checked because I truly don't see it.
On her Behind The Music special Mary J Blige revealed that she felt betrayed by Diddy when he began to market Faith Evans as his new artist with that around-the-way-Mary-J-Blige appeal. Artists who come out with a similar sound are bound to be compared and that is exactly what happens time and time again.
The audio below compares the voices of Keyshia Cole, K. Michelle & Mary J Blige singing "I'm Going Down" live:
There is obviously one Queen of Hip Hop Soul and she is the only one who deserves the homage that she has been given both artists discussed in the post.