Out of the small city of Decatur, Georgia, Keri Hilson was born in 1982 and mostly raised by her mother, who ran a daycare center and her father was in the military. From an early age, Keri already developed a keen enough interest in music that first saw her mother make arrangements for piano lessons, but later became vocal lessons instead as the then twelve-year-old preferred singing. By the time she was fourteen years old, Keri Hilson already signed her first record deal with a short-lived girl group, D’Signe. As a teenager, she wrote songs for a number of top-name artists, including Britney Spears, Mary J. Blige, Ludicrous, and Usher. On occasion, she also sang backup vocals for some of these artists and many more. It wasn’t long before she was introduced to Timbaland, who since signed her to his own record label, Mosley Music Group.
On March 24, 2009, the first of two Keri Hilson’s studio albums was released. In a Perfect World… became her most successful as it released nine singles where four of them became certified hits. The album also became certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and silver by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI). On December 21, 2010, No Boys Allowed was released as a follow-up album but did not meet the same level of success as Hilson’s first. It did, however, sell over 200,000 copies and produced four singles where one of which became a charted and certified hit. As a featured artist performing with other talents, she has eighteen singles to her credit. As mentioned, not only was Hilson a talented singer but a songwriter as well. Some of the biggest hits sung by some of the biggest talents saw her earn credit for those.
Top 10 Keri Hilson Songs
#10 – Superhuman (featuring Chris Brown)
In 2008, Keri Hilson teamed up with Chris Brown for the piano-rich duet, “Superhuman.” It came from his second album, Exclusive, and became a number fifteen hit on the Irish Singles Chart, as well as in New Zealand. In Australia, Superhuman charted at number thirty and became certified platinum. It also appeared at number seventy-nine on the European Top 100 Singles. The Recorded Music of New Zealand awarded gold certification to Superhuman after it sold 7,500 copies within its nation. In America, the US Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart peaked this soulful R&B ballad at number twenty and became a certified gold hit with the RIAA.
#9 – Scream (featuring Timbaland and Nicole Scherzinger)
From Timbaland’s second studio album, Shock Value, “Scream” was a collaborated single between himself, Keri Hilson, and Nicole Scherzinger that was released in late 2007. The gospel-like delivery of vocals saw the seductive mix of Hilson’s melodic vocals mesh with Scherzinger’s rhythmic vocals, which served as the perfect compliment to Timbaland’s vocal performance.
“Scream,” was a very popular single among the European nations, which saw its peak to number eighteen on the European Hot 100 singles. Among most of the nations, it was a top forty hit and made a solid enough impression in Canada to chart at number forty-one. As for the US, while the single did not appear on the US Billboard Hot 100, it did reach number twenty-two on its Bubbling Under 100 Singles.
#8 – Return the Favor (featuring Timbaland)
From Keri Hilson’s debut album, In a Perfect World…, “Return the Favor” was a collaborated performance from Keri Hilson and Timbaland. It was the third time the two artists performed together, with the hopes to achieve the same level of success as its predecessor. This futuristic style was inspired by the first single Hilson and Timbaland performed together as both artists wanted to work off the electro energy from it into Return the Favor.
Among the music critics, the single earned mixed reviews and it was released upon the international market at the same time another single from Hilson’s album was released to the North American market, namely Turnin’ On Me. Return the Favor was at its most popular in Belgium as it peaked at number six on its Ultratip chart and at number seven on the UK Singles Chart. Across Europe, it was a top forty hit and charted at number eighty in Australia.
#7 – Energy
“Energy” was the first single released from Keri Hilson’s debut album, In a Perfect World…, which was released in 2008. The song was at its most popular in New Zealand as its official singles chart peaked it as high as number two, as well as certified gold by its Recorded Music of New Zealand (RMNZ). On the US Billboard Dance Club Songs chart, Energy climbed as high as number twelve, and it was a number twenty-one hit on the US Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop songs chart.
The US Billboard Hot 100 charted Energy at number seventy-eight and it charted at number forty-three in the UK. It was Keri Hilson’s first single as a solo artist that did not feature a collaboration of any sort with another artist. She wanted to prove to the music industry she was capable of producing a hit on her own, which seemed to work. Although the overall success of Energy was moderate, it served as a sample of what was yet to come by one of the most melodically gifted vocal talents in the entertainment industry.
#6 – Got Your Back (featuring T.I.)
In 2010, Keri Hilson and T.I. collaborate together for the single, “Got Your Back.” It came from T.I.’s seventh studio album, No Mercy. This RIAA-certified gold hit saw Hilson beautifully harmonize T.I.’s hip-hop style as he performs his appreciation for the women who look out for their men. On the US Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, Got Your Back peaked at number ten, and on the US Billboard Hot 100 at number thirty-eight. Globally, the song’s popularity became a top forty hit among the nations of Belgium, Germany, Ireland, and the UK.
#5 – I Like
“I Like” was a single that came from the Zweiohrkuken soundtrack, a German motion picture that was in theaters in 2009. There was also a re-released edition that came from Keri Hilson’s debut album, In a Perfect World… In Germany, I Like debuted at the top spot of its Top 100 Singles chart and became certified platinum. After its successful German chart performance, the single also entered a number of other European charts, becoming a top ten hit among most of them. On the European Hot 100 Singles chart, I Like peaked at number nine. The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) of Switzerland also certified the single as platinum.
#4 – Turnin’ Me On (featuring Lil Wayne)
On the US Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, “Turnin’ Me On” peaked as high as number two when it was released in 2008. It was the third single from Keri Hilson’s debut album, In a Perfect World… On the US Billboard Hot 100, Turnin’ Me On charted as high as number fifteen and it was a number twenty-nine hit in New Zealand. It also made an appearance on the music charts belonging to the nations of Brazil, Canada, and Slovakia.
The timing of “Turnin’ Me On’s” release was the same as Return the Favor, which was another single from her album. Turnin’ Me On was a North American release while Return the Favor was an international release. The futuristic, urbanized hip-hop Turnin’ Me On was performed with rap artist, Lil Wayne, which catered well to Keri Hilson’s sassier than usual lyrical attitude. In addition to performing well on the charts, the single also became certified platinum by the RIAA.
#3 – Pretty Girl Rock
Keri Hilson’s second studio album, No Boys Allowed, produced the hit, “Pretty Girl Rock,” as its lead single in 2010. With sampled music from 1981’s Just the Two of Us that was performed by Grover Washington, Jr., Keri Hilson’s soulful, melodic performance served as a genuine feel-good song that was appealing enough to the fans to make it a certified-platinum hit with the RIAA, as well as a certified gold hit with New Zealand’s RMNZ.
On the US Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, Pretty Girl Rock peaked at number four, and it was a number twenty-four hit on the US Billboard Hot 100. In New Zealand, the single reached as high as number eleven and it was popular enough among the nations of Australia, Austria, Germany, Slovakia, and the UK to chart within the top forty among their respective billboards.
#2 – Knock You Down” (featuring Kanye West and Ne-Yo)
“Knock You Down” was a collaborated hit single between Keri Hilson, Kanye West, and Ne-Yo. It was one of the singles that was released from Hilson’s debut album, In a Perfect World… This contemporary, electro hip-hop meets R&B song made reference to the recently departed Michael Jackson and it received mixed reviews by the critics, as they felt West and Ne-Yo drowned out Hilson’s vocal talent. However, the fans seemed to disagree as Knock You Down not only performed well on the music charts in 2009 but earned a Grammy Award nomination for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration in 2010.
On the US Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, it was number one, as well as on the US Billboard Rhythmic chart. New Zealand’s RMNZ also saw “Knock You Down,” peak at number one. On the US Billboard Hot 100, it charted as high as number three and it was a number thirteen hit on the Eurochart Hot 100. Globally, the single charted within the top forty among most of the official charts belonging to various European and Oceania nations.
With New Zealand’s RMNZ and the UK’s BPI, the single became certified platinum and it was double-platinum with the USA’s RIAA. Gold certification with Australia’s ARIA was also awarded to Knock You Down. Also in 2009, the single won Soul Train Music Award for Best Collaboration.
#1 – The Way I Are (featuring Timbaland and D.O.E.)
The mega-hit single, “The Way I Are,” became a multi-platinum sensation among the nations of Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Germany, New Zealand, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK, and the USA. In Canada and the US, the single was triple-platinum and it was quad-platinum in Denmark. On the US Billboard Mainstream Rock chart, and on the Eurochart Hot 100, “The Way I Are,” was a number one hit.
It also topped most of the charts worldwide and was a dance club favorite, regardless of whether it was the radio-friendly version, the explicit version, or dance remix versions. The mix of contemporary, electronica, hip-hop, R&B made this song sound like a futuristic display of sensual role reversals. The influence of Justin Timberlake is also featured in the single, which was noted by both the music fans and the critics. The Way I Are came from Timbaland’s second studio album, Shock Value, which was released on April 2, 2007. For Keri Hilson, this single was her first big breakthrough hit, which paved the way for her solo career to launch as impressively as it did.
Top 10 Keri Hilson Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2021
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