Lil Mama Voice of the Young People

Few singles were as hot as Lil Mama’s "Lip Gloss” in 2007, but the six-month delay for her debut album really put a damper on the momentum she had going. Perhaps it was her role as a judge on America’s Best Dance Crew, or her mother’s unfortunate passing, but despite the wait, the long-awaited Voice of the Young People does an adequate job demonstrating there’s more to this gal than just product placement rhymes. The pint-sized MC keeps the fun coming with "G-Slide (Tour Bus),” which rolls to the tune of "Wheels On the Bus” without coming off as juvenile, and Chris Brown adds some star power to the T-Pain guesting and produced "Shawty Get Loose,” a revved-up club track that captures more of Mama’s endless gusto. Most impressive is how conscious she is of her Harlem community, throwing plenty of awareness into cuts like "Swim” and waxing nostalgic on the trials of growing up, with poignant moments like "L.I.F.E.” and "Stand Up.” But where’s hot single "On Fire”? And why is the record 18 tracks long? Right now her album title is a little pretentious but if she plays it smart, Lil Mama could grow into an important voice in commercial hip-hop. (Jive)