Keri Hilson's 7 Best Songs: Solos & Features

As we await her long-awaited return, let’s revisit some of Ms. Keri Baby’s classics.

BYDemi Phillips
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The Millennium Tour - Atlanta, GA

To say the world has missed Keri Hilson would be quite an understatement. Even though she’s left a mark on the industry, it’s been over a decade since she released her second album, No Boys Allowed, in 2010. With hits like “Turnin Me On” and “Knock You Down” in her repertoire, Keri Hilson was one of the names that dominated the late 2000s R&B space. Since then, she’s been largely absent from the scene, save for a few features and a moderate acting career.

However, the return of Keri Hilson seems imminent. In a new interview with Tani and J. Valentine on the R&B Money podcast, the singer has pretty much assured the fans that a new album is coming. She has also promised that her new music “answers questions,” alluding to her long break away. There's no confirmed date yet, but while we await the return of Keri Hilson, a.k.a. Ms. Keri Baby, it’s always worth revisiting some of her major hits.

7. “Nominate” - Stonebwoy feat. Keri Hilson (2020) 

After what felt like an eternity away from the spotlight, Keri Hilson re-emerged in 2020. However, her brief return to music came as a featured act on Stonebwoy’s track “Nominate.” The Ghanaian singer enlisted Hilson for a groovy, Afro-pop dance number. While the track failed to dominate the American markets, it became a huge hit in Africa, especially Ghana and Nigeria. Keri Hilson floated on the Afrobeat song quite effortlessly, and even appeared in the music video. Moreover, with the track, she proved that she still has the musical chops, no matter how much time away she takes. 

6. “Turnin Me On” - feat. Lil Wayne (2008)

After rising to fame with dance and pop hits, Keri Hilson opted for a sound that felt much more authentic to her. The result of this evolution was “Turnin Me On,” a distinct R&B track featuring Lil Wayne. Hilson brought an edge and swagger missing from her previous releases, earning praise for her confident sound. While chatting with The Grape Juice in 2008, she shared that the single was a “conscious effort to make sure that I stay close to home on some records."

“Energy” (2008)

“Energy” was Keri Hilson’s debut single, quickly assuring the world of her incoming solo stardom. While she had begun to garner significant buzz after the success of “The Way I Are,” “Energy” showed that the artist could stand on her own. Overall, the single talks about an overwhelming and consuming toxic love that is causing the singer to reconsider her priorities. The chorus is a standout of the single and shows Hilson’s vocal chops quite well. “Energy” wasn’t a major success on the charts, but is still regarded as one of her signature songs. Fans and critics also praised the R&B ballad for its emotive style and lyrical vulnerability. 

“Got Your Back” - T.I. feat. Keri Hilson (2010)

Keri Hilson lent her lush vocals to the 2010 single “Got Your Back.” The track by T.I. enjoyed a lot of airplay upon release, becoming one of the most popular summer tracks of the year. It also served to appreciate the women supporting their partners through it all. Hilson’s presence on the track, although brief, brought some much-needed color to the Hip Hop track. 

“Knock You Down” - feat. Ne-Yo & Kanye West (2009)

In 2009, Keri Hilson released “Knock You Down” as the fourth single from her debut album, In a Perfect World…. The song, one of her most recognizable tracks, features Ne-Yo and Kanye West. Evidently, this trio of stars came prepared, as the song became a huge commercial hit upon release. Lyrically, “Knock You Down” is about how love can sweep you off your feet. The relatability in the lyrics also led to its widespread appeal. While critics were divisive about the song, the public thoroughly enjoyed the track. It peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100, and has since been certified 2x platinum.

“The Way I Are” - Timbaland feat. Keri Hilson & D.O.E. (2007)

Upon release, “The Way I Are” took over the radio, not just in America but worldwide. The electropop dance track by Timbaland featured Keri Hilson in her first mainstream appearance. Hilson’s light and sensual vocals on the track were especially lauded. The single eventually peaked at number three on the Billboard Hot 100. However, in Europe, it became a monster hit, topping the charts in the UK, Scotland, and Ireland, among others. Furthermore, it topped the Canadian and Australian charts. Overall, “The Way I Are” is the biggest single in Keri Hilson’s career so far, but maybe her return to music could spell another monster hit. 

“Pretty Girl Rock” (2010)

Easily her signature song, Keri Hilson achieved considerable success following the release of “Pretty Girl Rock.” Beyond the song itself, its music video was lauded for paying homage to icons before her, including Janet Jackson and TLC. Overall, “Pretty Girl Rock” is a song about girl power and self-love. It is also one of the most recognized hits of the late '90s and a serious nostalgia-inducer, whether or not you’re a fan of Keri Hilson. The single peaked at No. 24 on the Billboard Hot 100 but has remained a timeless track in Hilson’s discography. “Pretty Girl Rock” has also been certified platinum for over a million sales.

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