[Editor's Note: Fuck Guilty Pleasures celebrates the over-produced, commercial, artless, lowbrow music that we believe is genuinely worthwhile. Like, among the best music ever.]
I had a ghetto friend once, who was like Keyshia Cole in some ways. My friend had gelled baby hair, gold rings, crochet braids, and lived around the rules instead of within them. My conservative mother was not a fan, but I found it inspiring, just like I find Keyshia Cole inspiring. Sometimes, however, it feels like I'm the only one.
Some backstory: Now on her fifth album, Cole is no longer the adorable young girl stumbling in Mary J. Blige's shoes. Now she seems trapped in the "woman scorned R&B" subgenre, and her flaws as a singer often come through. Personally, she's something of a mess. (More on that later.)
Critics have never been all that impressed with her. Reviewing her latest album, Woman To Woman, New York Times writer Ben Ratliff wrote: Cole's "delivery across the record makes all situations sound the same: peace, war, passive aggression."
At least the streets always had her back, right? Well, it hardly seems that way anymore, if you're talking about the Twitter streets anyway. Folks seemed to turn on her when she went on a Super Bowl themed tirade, accusing Michelle Williams of "fuckN the groove up" (sic) during Destiny's Child's reunion. She added: "y'all girl is WACK and always will be!"
The sparks began to fly:
Cue the Keyshia Cole fish plate meme.
But while everyone else seemed to be piling on, I took Cole's side.