Teairra Marí

Roc-a-Fella Records Presents Teairra Marí

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She wears a tiara and is named Teairra, which rhymes with Ciara. She occasionally sounds like Teena Marie and will probably be confused with Ciara. As you can see and might hear, Teairra Marí comes off like a strange ploy to cause as much confusion as possible. This was made evident once her first single, "Make Her Feel Good," began to make the rounds. Even without knowing her name -- practically an anagram for Teena Marie -- it wouldn't have been impossible to think of Lady T. Over a minimal production from Sean Garrett (Destiny's Child, Mario, Omarion) that struts off the tinny chime from Eric B. & Rakim's "My Melody," Marí's assertive pout is reminiscent of her elder's "I Need Your Lovin'," "Midnight Magic," and "Lovergirl." And the elusive, flirtatious essence of "Make Her Feel Good" isn't much different from that of Ciara's "Goodies" and "Oh" -- so it's wholly appropriate that Teairra and Ciara rhyme. Dubbed "the Princess of the Roc" by Roc-A-Fella administrator Jay-Z, Marí nonetheless has a lot of momentum behind her that should help prevent lost-in-the-shuffle status. Only 17 and raised just south of 8 Mile in Detroit, Marí is helped by Rodney Jerkins, Bryan-Michael Cox, Kwamé, Trackboyz, Poli Paul, and Cool & Dre, as well as Jay-Z, who introduces "Make Her Feel Good." Despite her age and the amount of assistance, she sounds seasoned and in charge, entirely aware of who she is and what she's capable of doing. There's too much feeling, too much knowing -- in her voice to enable the common kneejerk criticism that she's merely a puppet with all the right connections. A lean album at 45 minutes (with no guest verses or anything ending in "-lude"), at least five of its songs deserve as much play as the lead single, all of which are different enough from one another (both lyrically and sonically) to establish Marí as one to watch.

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