Vibe - pp.137-1384 discs out of 5
- "Cole must be commended for a superb vocal performance....Her pure emotion gives you something you can feel. That, she gets right every time."
Personnel: Keyshia Cole (vocals); Chink Santana, Eve, Jadakiss (rap vocals); Ron Fair (harmonica, organ); Chops, Gary Grant, Jerry Hey, Joel Peskin (horns); Steve Rodriguez, Tal Herzberg (bass instrument); Jason Stallworth (drums); Metro City.
Far from the usual fizzy pop practiced by contemporaries like Beyonce and Kelis, the debut album from Oakland-born singer/songwriter Keyshia Cole is full of sophisticated, adult R&B that bridges the gap between the neo-soul likes of Alicia Keys and the inspired, kinetic hip-hop of Kanye West. Keys and West both guest here, on the singles "(I Just Want It) To Be Over" and "I Changed My Mind," respectively, but Cole is a compelling enough performer that she's not overshadowed. Similarly, guest spots by John Legend (on "I Changed My Mind") and Eve (on Cole's 2004 debut single, "Never," reprised here) never take the focus from Cole's warm and soulful vocals. Comparable to Keys, Mary J. Blige, and even '70s R&B divas like Betty Wright (especially on the outstanding woman-done-wrong rampage "I Should Have Cheated"), Keyshia Cole effortlessly bridges old school and new, and THE WAY IT IS promises even better things to come.