The Best Moments From Keyshia Cole & Ashanti’s R&B ‘Verzuz’ Battle

Robyn Mowatt Robyn Mowatt is a staff writer at Okayplayer where she…
Keyshia Cole Ashanti
Photo Credit: Johnny Nunez for WireImage

Keyshia Cole and Ashanti finally kicked off their R&B Verzuz battle on Thursday evening, the night was filled with jokes, storytelling and their biggest hits.

After two scheduling hiccups, the beloved R&B powerhouses Keyshia Cole and Ashanti battled it out Verzuz style. 

1.1 million viewers tuned in to watch the vocalists serve up their biggest hits over the years. Keyshia Cole popped into the live stream an hour behind which isn’t surprising given that most of the Verzuz events never start on time. 

Rather than addressing Cole’s tardiness Ashanti calmly declared, “My sis is on the way. I’ma hold it down for my girl.” She even allowed her DJ to queue up a recently dropped single that dropped after the battle, “235 (2:35 I Want You).” Being in the same room was probably not an option as the COVID-19 cases in the nation have risen dramatically. Therefore the singers appeared in a split-screen setup which was how Verzuz organically began on Instagram.

Let’s get right to it, below we’re highlighting the biggest moments from last night’s Verzuz. We’re also adding in a few tweets that caught our eye. If you didn’t tune in, hopefully, this recap provides you a sliver of joy.

1. Keyshia Cole’s “I Changed My Mind” vs. Ashanti’s “Happy”

Ashanti began things on a joy-filled note with her single “Happy” off her self-titled debut. The energy when her DJ dropped this was lovely to see. Prior to that Keyshia’s “I Changed My Mind” also was a great start to the event. 

2. Keyshia Cole’s “I Should Have Cheated” vs. Ashanti’s “The Way That I Love You”

When Cole threw out the following choice words about cheating fans already had an inkling what song was coming: “You already know how it is in these streets, being cheated to and lied to.” Of course it was “I Should Have Cheated,” a raw, emotional track that’s forever ingrained in R&B. “The Way That I Love You” was a fitting follow-up.

3. Keyshia Cole’s “Shoulda Let You Go” vs. Ashanti’s “Rock With U (Awww Baby)” 

Rodney “Darkchild” Jenkins was in his bag when he produced Keyshia’s “Should Let You Go.” This was a highlight of the highly anticipated event. But when Ashanti queued up “Rock With U” this was an undeniable moment for the Long Island-bred singer who clearly understands this is one of her biggest hits. 

4. Keyshia Cole’s “I Remember” vs. Lloyd feat. Ashanti’s “Southside” 

“I Remember” is an example of Keyshia’s ability to serve up unforgettable break-up songs that stand the test of time. Ashanti decided to throw in her and Lloyd’s deep cut “Southside.” We honestly can’t imagine a world without this song that appears on Lloyd’s 2004 album, it’s no surprise that it was dropped during this Verzuz.

5. Diddy feat. Keyshia Cole’s “Last Night” vs. Jennifer Lopez feat. Ja Rule’s “Ain’t It Funny (Murder Remix)” 

Before Keyshia’s DJ plays “Last Night” she shares that it’s one of her favorite songs to perform. To many this track is a hidden gem that appears on Diddy’s album Press Play. Ashanti then serves up “Ain’t It Funny (Murder Remix).” She proceeds to share a story about almost signing to Bad Boy Records, additionally, she reveals she wrote the verses for J Lo in this song. 

6. 2Pac feat. Keyshia Cole’s “Playa Cardz Right” vs. 2Pac feat. Ashanti and T.I.’s “Pac’s Life”

If you’re a Keyshia Cole fanatic you were patiently waiting for her to play the classic “Playa Cardz Right” with 2Pac off of her third album. The track also appeared on 2Pac’s sixth posthumously released album. Ashanti follows this up with “Pac’s Life” another cut paying homage to the late California rapper.

7. Keyshia Cole’s “Love” vs. Ashanti’s “Rain On Me”

How old were you when Cole originally released “Love,” perhaps her largest single? It’s a platinum record. While she played this O.T. Genesis hilariously popped up on her screen. Also, there’s something about Ashanti’s “Rain On Me” that will never get old. This was a great track to add right after “Love.”

8. Keyshia Cole’s “Heaven Sent” vs. Ashanti’s “Baby”

“Heaven Sent” is another R&B hit from Cole that sticks like grits. It’s a stunning portrayal of what love sounds like. Ashanti’s “Baby” is a hit, but to be clear it’s not as big as this cut off Keyshia’s second album. 

Final Moment

Before the battle wraps Keyshia decided to play one of her new tracks “I Don’t Wanna Be In Love With You.” Ashanti shares “Always On Time” respectfully, a track that is a standout in her catalog. 

The evening was a smooth one even despite the strange space that all Americans are in right now due to COVID-19. It’s a bit tough to choose a winner, but Keyshia Cole thoroughly displayed the versatility of the tracks that have built the crux of her career. Last night Cole selectively shared cuts that included a wide range of artists: Diddy, Remy Ma, Missy Elliott, Lil Kim, and more. For that, we crown her the winner of this Verzuz. It was a joy to watch both singers revel in their music, in a way we think they were given their flowers for contributing to the music industry at large.

Watch the entire battle below.

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