VYP: Voice of the Young People

VYP: Voice of the Young People

by Lil Mama


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Lil Mama (née Niatia Kirkland) broke out in a big way in spring 2007 with "Lip Gloss," a Top Ten novelty single built around an astoundingly simple but effective beat and some legitimately impressive rapping about an unabashedly frivolous subject. Despite that track's earworm resilience and Kirkland's guest turns on high-profile remixes for several of the year's biggest singles (Avril Lavigne's "Girlfriend" and Rihanna's "Umbrella"), it took almost a year for her debut album to appear, by which time her rising star had lost a good deal of momentum. That's a shame because VYP: Voice of the Young People presents Lil Mama as one of the most promising female rappers in years; a likable and amply talented performer with a refreshingly open-ended, still-developing approach that lets her flit convincingly from goofy, hook-heavy pop to heavier, more introspective material, although all the stylistic and thematic hopscotch results in a somewhat unwieldy album and a persona that's complex but a little naggingly undefined. The album's also over-long, even if it has little truly weak material, but -- aptly suited to the digital age -- it's helpfully compartmentalized, with brief explanatory skits serving to separate the opening set of upbeat, crossover-ready tunes from segments focused on socially conscious story-telling ("Gotta Go Deeper") and relationship issues ("Emotional Rollercoaster"), before a final pair of club jams cap it all off. The opening section is easily the breeziest, featuring the lighthearted but infectiously cocky swagger that earned Lil Mama her fame, though its pop-happy attitude is occasionally complicated by confusing grasps at an ambiguously defined credibility. Perhaps to shore up the hip-hop realness she asserts on the intro, the album version of "Lip Gloss" is bizarrely interrupted partway through by the bare-bones, out of tempo "No Music" freestyle, while the belatedly preemptive hater-baiting "One Hit Wonder" awkwardly (if accurately) asserts her status as "one of the fewest female MCs of the century." On the other hand, she beefs up the youth-repping claim of the album title with the very silly "Wheels on the Bus"-quoting "G-Slide (Tour Bus)" and a recording of some cute tykes requesting "Shawty Get Loose," the infectious lite-R&B/dance banger which saved her from one-hit-wonder status by going Top Ten in early 2008 (thanks in part to the presence of guaranteed chart-greasers T-Pain and Chris Brown.) Later album standouts include "L.I.F.E.," an inspirational anthem of hope in the face of ghetto-life adversity, the emotional "College," about a four-year-old visiting her father in prison, and, on a different tip entirely, the jaunty duet "Truly in Love." Over the course of the proceedings a bevy of 2000s production heavyweights (among them Luke Gottwald, Cool & Dre, the Runners, and Scott Storch) contribute dependable if rarely revelatory beats that ensure Lil Mama's lips aren't the only thing that's popping. Although she deftly and admirably captures much of the struggle and contradiction that accompanies young adulthood, Lil Mama is a little too old, at 18, to bill herself as "the voice of young people" for too much longer -- but it hardly matters, as she's clearly well on her way to developing a strikingly original and versatile voice of her own.

Product Details

Release Date: 07/09/2008
Label: Tombstone Records
UPC: 4988017660782
catalogNumber: 21614
Rank: 182977

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Lil Mama   Primary Artist
Eddie Montilla   Keyboards
Clifford Carter   Organ
Emily Wright   Hand Clapping
Cool   Musician
James Chambers   Drums
Zak Botham   Trumpet
Malissa "Mali" Hunter   Hand Clapping
Lukasz Gottwald   Guitar

Technical Credits

Marv Johnson   Producer
Kenny Hicks   Vocal Producer
Doug McKean   Engineer
Robert Smith   Engineer
Benny Blanco   Programming,Producer
Emily Wright   Engineer
Paul Diaz   Producer
Denise Trorman   Art Direction
Mike Houge   Engineer
Wayne Allison   Engineer
Tuneheadz Productions   Producer
Conrad Golding   Engineer
Peter Toh   Producer,Engineer
Steve Nowoczynski   Engineer
Justin C. Johnson   Producer,Engineer
Matt Beckley   Producer,Engineer
Reed "Mountain Man" Taylor   Engineer
T-Pain   Composer
Chris Soper   Engineer
Ali "Cuzzo" Sami   Management
Aniela Gottwald   Engineer
Gina Victoria   Engineer
Cool   Producer
Tatiana Gottwald   Producer,Engineer
James Chambers   Producer
Runners   Producer
Jeff "Supa Jeff" Villanueva   Engineer
Kurt Read   Engineer
Nick Banns   Engineer
Sophia Dawson   Illustrations
Famliar Mindz   Executive Producer
Malissa "Mali" Hunter   Producer
Nissan Matthews   Management
Kotaro Okada   Illustrations
Gary "G" Silver   Engineer
Scott Storch   Producer

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Vyp - Voice of the Young People 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Her album is off the chain!! Lil Mama is truly the voice of the young people. She touches on the real life situations that many of today's youth are faced to deal with. I most definitely recommend EVERYONE to go buy her album!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Seriously there is way too much hype and excitement for a needless album like 'The voice of the young people'. Did you know the album was suppose to come out last year? I guess not. Lil mama starts out okay and fresh. But then after the james we heard the album falls apart.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago