1989 marked a monumental year for ladies in Hip-Hop music. With influential “femcees” like MC Lyte and Queen Latifah conveying experiences from the female perspective, the culture found a definitive counterbalance to the increasing male bravado. It was also the year Lil’ Mama was born. Fast forward to 2008 and while the aforementioned legends have moved on to other forms of entertainment, Niatia Kirkwell b.k.a. Lil’ Mama is poised to fill their storied footsteps, claiming to be the Voice Of The Young People. Her debut single “Lip Gloss” was written off as just another ringtone magnet, but numerous interviews and radio spots found the youngster insisting she was much more beneath the surface.
On her debut Voice Of The Young People (VYP), the Brooklyn starlet proves her competent mic skills throughout with admiration, but several questionable beat choices and amateur choruses make her rookie season a predominant frisbee.
Seeking to give her youthful listeners some jewels to grow by, songs like “L.I.F.E.” and “Broken Pieces” are honest attempts at creating music with profound subject matter. “College” is a reflective account of a daughter visiting an incarcerated father and gaining invaluable knowledge on the curveballs life has to offer and T-Pain supplies a perky summer jam on “What It Is (Strike A Pose)” for Lil’ Mama to rock in true b-girl fashion.
Too bad the majority of Lil’ Mama’s messages are drowned in diluted bubblegum Pop. Sugary pastries like “Shawty Get Loose” and Avril Lavigne’s “Girlfriend (Remix)” have all but been forgotten by the digital downloaders whom since moved on the next hottest jingle of the month. Swizz Beatz cooks up some tasteless horn soup on the dull “Make It Hot (Put It Down)” where Lil’ Mama misses her mark with a series of flimsy rhymes and the candy shop soundtrack of “Truly In Love” comes off a tad bit forced. But it’s the carefree “G-Slide (Tour Bus)” that serves as the best example of the incongruity that flows through VYP’s veins. Dr. Luke’s thunderous bounce and Lil’ Mama’s fiery vocals are marred by the nursery rhyme chorus which possibly is the only feature appealing to the youngsters.
It’s commendable that Lil’ Mama has created a path for herself without sinking into the sexual overtones and vulgarity that plagues the woman rapper. But despite her spirited efforts, inexperience in the art of song-making trumps her conquest of becoming the next leader of the new school.
Lil’ Mama’s future will simply depend on her making more memorable music.
For more info, visit www.lilmamaonline.com.