After two public postponements due to COVID-19 precautions, the VERZUZ franchise kicked off 2021 with the much anticipated Ashanti vs. Keyshia Cole celebration. More than 1 million viewers tuned in to watch the princesses of R&B take the stage to play their top tracks hit for hit.
The sets featured intricate black and white throne chairs, Ciroc and Doritos displays, and Cole even had her name in lights behind her. Both queens looked gorgeous in all black, straight hair and side parts.
During the warmup, viewers enjoyed the sounds of the music industry’s favorite ladies like Mary J. Blige, Megan Thee Stallion, Beyonce, Aaliyah, SWV, Xscape and more. Celebs like Justine Skye, 21 Savage, Fat Joe, Tamar Braxton, Lil Mo, Spice Adams and Ja Rule pulled up to enjoy the celebration from the comments section, too.
The two divas, whose careers parallel in many ways, set the tone for ladies nights around the world for more than two decades, and Thursday night (Jan. 21) they brought that vibe to our smartphones, laptops and LED screens.
Check out the best moments of the night below!
1. The Pre-Show Comments
Impatient fans turned the comments into a comedy show. Comments like, “I’m waiting like Bernie,” “Diddy defund these people,” “Keyshia’s in an Uber” and “If Keyshia got a boot on her car just say that!!!” were said while the audience of more than half-a-million viewers waited for the main event.
2. Keyshia Cole Brought The ‘tude And The Numbers
After a fashionably late arrival, Cole showed clear signs of irritability, but her fans didn’t mind because the viewer count shot up to 1 million as soon as she touched her throne.
3. Keyshia Cole Doing The Step Routine To “Last Night”
In a positive energy shift, Cole showed us her step routine to the beat of “Last Night,” her 2006 feature with Diddy on his Press Play album.
4. Ashanti Shared The Story Behind J. Lo’s “Ain’t It Funny”
Ashanti recalled how she almost signed to Bad Boy when she was 13 years old. Taking a little more time to develop, she got her big break in the music industry as a songwriter. One of her early placements was “Ain’t It Funny” by Jennifer Lopez. The song reached critical success, landing in the Top 10 in several countries. Ashanti even joked that once the song featuring rapper Ja Rule dropped, Puff called and asked Ashanti if it was a shot at him. It wasn’t, but the question tickled her some 19 years later.
5. Keyshia Cole’s Tupac Tribute
Cole was almost signed to Death Row as a teen. Tupac died when she was 16. She shared the story that she felt like it was a full circle moment when “Play Your Cards Right” dropped, and she had the chance to do a posthumous feature with the late rap legend.
Ashanti followed that up with her feature on “Pac’s Life” from his 10th and final posthumous album. The track also featured a verse from T.I. and was produced by LT Hutton.
6. O.T. Genasis’ Surprise Performance Of “Love”
Viewers were not ready for O.T. Genasis to show up on the screen, but the shock was a welcomed surprise. Endless crying laughing emojis and fire flames flooded the comment section as evidence that everyone loved it. Back in 2019, O.T. went viral for his gangsta rendition of Cole “Love” single. So, it was dope to see him tonight.
7. Ashanti Raising Awareness for Women Overcoming Domestic Violence
When Ashanti played “Rain On Me,” she recalled how she came up with the concept for the music video co-starring “Power” actor Larenz Tate. The cinematic visuals depicted an abusive relationship, where the leading lady, Ashanti, had finally reached her wits end and solicited the help she needed from family to finally leave. She reflected on the dozens of fan letters she received from those who were inspired by that song and video to get out of the dangerous relationships they were in, as well. Love should not hurt. If you or a loved one needs help, please utilize resources such as the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE or thehotline.org.
8. What’s in Keyshia Cole’s Mugs?
Cole’s cups were truly running over — and not just in that corset. With a white mug, two black mugs and a glass snifter, we must ask what was sis sipping on? The comments speculated some dark liquor based on her “energetic” behavior.
9. The Unreleased Music Premiered
Both songstresses dropped off new heat for 2021. Cole brought us brand new track “I Don’t Wanna Be in Love” and Ashanti debuted “235 (2:35 I Want You).” Which new track is an instant classic to you?
10. The Outfits Were Fire
Both divas showed up in the glam department. Ashanti served serious corporate chic vibes with the diamonds and pearls accessories and the sleek, deep side-part. Cole gave us an edgy glamorous rock look, where her lovely lady lumps were the star of the show. The corset was sexy and the viewers loved it.
Relive the Verzuz with Tidal’s playlist below!