Lil Mama

VYP: Voice of the Young People | Jive
By DANIEL BROCKMAN  |  May 6, 2008
3.0 3.0 Stars
There must be a name for the phenomenon of a child actor aging too quickly on the set of a film, right? You know, like Laurence Fishburne on the set of Apocalypse Now, that sort of thing. Anyway, it goes a long way toward explaining the odd disconnect between the out-of-nowhere grade-school playground crunk of last year’s “Lip Gloss” and Lil Mama’s eventual major-label debut. Padded out with more skits than a Ludacris box set, and filled with far more little-kids-screaming sounds than necessary (i.e., more than “none”), VYP nonetheless shows, perhaps by design, a pretty convincing arc of maturation. It begins, as it should, with the locker-room vocoder-jammy-jams “Lip Gloss” and “Shawty Get Loose,” but somewhere in the middle, it starts turning into a less adult-contempo Mary J. Blige. I was half-expecting the whole record to exude the late-’00s Double Dutch/dance-craze vibe of her pre-album singles like “G-Slide (Tour Bus),” a noteworthy oddity of a tune that pits middle-school sing-songiness against “Turn the Page” road-weariness and almost incongruously ominous synths. But “L.I.F.E.” and “Make It Hot (Put It Down)” seem to point to the smoove drama-laden “R&B” that we can probably look forward to once she becomes just “Mama.”
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