THE NEW ALBUM (In stores Dec. 2)

By EW Staff
Updated September 09, 2003 at 04:00 AM EDT
Alicia Keys: Anders Wiklund/SCANPIX/Retna

The scoop on Alicia Keys’ sophomore album

HER STORY The piano-playing R&B prodigy saw immediate success with her 2001 debut, ”Songs in A Minor.” It sold 4.5 million copies and scored the Clive Davis protégée five Grammys, including Best New Artist and Song of the Year for the lush ballad ”Fallin’.”

HER STATUS The 22-year-old’s sophomore album will include the hard-edged hip-hop track ”Streets of N.Y.,” with guest rappers Rakim and Nas. Other tracks, however, will follow the example of ”Songs in A Minor,” highlighting Keys’ piano playing and sultry vocal style.

SHE SAYS ”I don’t worry about topping anything [I’ve done before]. It’s gonna come natural. If I start TRYING to do things, it’ll be all f—ed up, you know?”

VERDICT As long as Keys remembers that her strength is R&B, not hip-hop, she won’t be fallin’ off the charts anytime soon.