Keri Hilson - No Boys Allowed (2011)

Keri Hilson

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On her 2009 debut, In a Perfect World..., Keri Hilson came out the can like a new generation Mary J. Blige wearing Beyoncé stilettos. Her follow-up, No Boys Allowed, shifts gears - transforming her into a dirty Rihanna Rated R-era heroine. First things first: The album's title is a bit misleading since Chris Brown, Nelly, Kanye West and Rick Ross zig-zags across the album with some amazing cameo appearances, but Hilson inherits a soundtrack heavy with sexy hip-hop beats ("Gimmie What I Want," "The Way You Love Me") and the occasional bedroom jam ("One Night Stand") that feels appropriately feminine on the singer. She's given some competent producers to work with, including: Chuck Harmony, Polow da Don and Timbaland, and does an acute job in putting the "I'm Every Woman" snap into songs like "Breaking Point" and the prissy "Pretty Girl Rock ("Don't hate me ‘cause I'm beautiful").

On her 2009 debut, In a Perfect World..., Keri Hilson came out the can like a new generation Mary J. Blige wearing Beyoncé stilettos. Her follow-up, No Boys Allowed, shifts gears - transforming her into a dirty Rihanna Rated R-era heroine. First things first: The album's title is a bit misleading since Chris Brown, Nelly, Kanye West and Rick Ross zig-zags across the album with some amazing cameo appearances, but Hilson inherits a soundtrack heavy with sexy hip-hop beats ("Gimmie What I Want," "The Way You Love Me") and the occasional bedroom jam ("One Night Stand") that feels appropriately feminine on the singer. She's given some competent producers to work with, including: Chuck Harmony, Polow da Don and Timbaland, and does an acute job in putting the "I'm Every Woman" snap into songs like "Breaking Point" and the prissy "Pretty Girl Rock ("Don't hate me ‘cause I'm beautiful"). But, Hilson finds herself crammed into a project full of songs that never sail beyond mediocre soul-pop and begins to sound like everything else in the modern-day marketplace. She even channels her inner Rihanna on the Stargate-produced "Lose Control/Let Me Down," if that's not saying enough. Hilson comes out the bag using a good dose of urban R&B radio appeal, but strategically misses the mark in making No Boys Allowed a "this is for the ladies" triumph. It needed a little more direction and a little less attitude.

Notable Tracks: "One Night Stand," "Pretty Girl Rock"

Vocals: 2.5 stars
Music: 2.0 stars
Lyrics: 2.5 stars
Production: 3.0 stars
SoulTracks Call: Mildly recommended

By J Matthew Cobb

 
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