Ten years ago today, Kelly Rowland released the official first single from her sophomore solo album, Ms. Kelly. “Like This” is a Polow Da Don produced mid-tempo bop that featured female hip-hop heavy weight, Eve. The track showcased a return to a more urban, R&B sound akin to her days in Destiny’s Child after her debut solo set, Simply Deep, dipped more in the pop lane.
It was a long road to the release of “Like This,” though. After Destiny’s Child released their “final album,” Destiny Fulfilled in 2004 and announced their retirement during their 2005 world tour, Kelly set out to record her sophomore set. Originally slated to be released in 2006, with the lead single “Gotsta Go,” the project was eventually pushed back to a 2007 release. Kelly cited a desire to record more music because, as it stood, the album sounded a bit too sad. Coincidentally, the original lead single, “Gotsta Go,” had a version featuring Eve (as well as Da Brat). Ultimately, Kelly regrouped and returned a year later with the release of “Like This.”
The song was an undeniable bop and quickly took off at urban radio thanks to its catchiness and fittingly sassy video. Rowland played up her recent break-up from fiancé Roy Williams in the song, fueling further interest in the track, singing: “The ring/ Let it go ’bout three months ago/ The pain, the stressing ain’t me no mo'”. It was a fitting theme considering her statement that she wanted to make the album less about heartbreak and more fun (Though, it still ended up being pretty much a breakup album).
“Like This” was a natural progression for Rowland, coming from a group that was all about female empowerment. Rather than wallow in pity, “Like This” celebrates her liberation and comfortability in her own skin. It is an anthem of strength and self-love. Little did we all know, until the release of “Dirty Laundry” in 2013, how much Kelly probably needed to hear and believe her own message. Without a doubt, “Like This” is pretty damn effective in making any listener feel themselves.
The song drips in sass and cockiness, and the video complimented that message perfectly. Kelly showcased her new and improved assets (implants) – she literally pushes them up when she sings, “the girl that you used to know, done changed” – throughout the video, never missing an opportunity to serve a good titty-shimmy to the beat. The premise of the video is simple, though, looking back, a bit innovative: Kelly and Eve live stream their house party on the internet… a good 9 years before Facebook Live became a thing!
With all the cards in the right places, “Like This” was well-positioned for success. The song peaked at #7 on the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, and #30 on the Hot 100, becoming her fourth Top 40 hit (she only had 5 solo singles until this point). Arguably, “Like This” was the song that made Kelly Rowland, the solo artist, a force in R&B music… with “Motivation” cementing her as an icon 4 years later. 10 years after its release, “Like This” STILL bops and will slay all the girls when it comes on at the club!
I mean… she told y’all, though.