Kim Hill Suga Hill

You may remember Kim Hill as a vocalist in Black Eyed Peas, but while her former associates are currently cashing cheques on tour with Timberlake and Aguilera, Hill is issuing her modestly packaged album on an independent level. Acoustic closer "The Real Hip Hop” is a pointed critique of the behind-the-scenes shadiness of her previous situation in her belying sweet voice where she surmises, "Hip hop is real/Too bad you lied.” This track, plus Suga Hill’s other eight songs have obviously been germinating for quite some time as there’s no throwaway filler here. Each song’s melodic strength ensures these are the type of the tracks that will inexplicably float into your head. While she has this attention Hill shows she’s equally adept at revealing her assertiveness and vulnerabilities in relationships tempered by a subtle musical approach. While nods to De La Soul and Boogie Down Productions appear on "Feel Me” and "K.I.M.M.Y.” respectively, Hill isn’t doing this as a crutch for cool points but to genuinely complement her style. Whether it’s communicated through the drum & bass flecked "Mars” or the bouncy trademark DJ Spinna synths on "Summertime In Aspen,” Suga Hill remains an ear-pleasing and inviting affair, confirming Hill is doing just fine on her own. (Independent)