Little Jackie

The Stoop

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Little Jackie is the sonic brain trust of singer/songwriter Imani Coppola and producer Adam Pallin. It's quite telling that they nabbed their name from a Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam tune called "Little Jackie Wants to Be a Star," since it's got that sense of simmering vibe, of boast and feminine grit that the best N.Y.C. music has. In fact, if there were one recording that summed up New York City in the summer of 2008, it's The Stoop. It seamlessly melds streetwise sunshine pop, funky retro-soul, old-school hip-hop, humor, poppin' poetry, in your face attitude, sensuality, and pure backbone slippin' vibe. Eleven tracks celebrate Coppola's world -- or at least her neighborhood -- from a porch stoop; but she and Pallin get infectiously tenacious, rhythmic, and sassy as hell in the process. There isn't a dumper track on the set, but a few have maximum club jump, such as"The World Revolves Around Me," where Motown-rich string samples, punky, ragged breaks, and the unforgettable existential lyrical conundrum "...I bide my time with philosophical questions/not for nothin' but what came first, the Chicken McNugget, or the Egg McMuffin?" that holds sway. There's the single with its early doo wop vibe stitched together with strings, church bells, double-layered cut-time shuffles, and a slow, decidedly low-key strutting bassline à la Duck Dunn with Coppola's truth hurts lyrics entitled "Guys Like It When Girls Kiss." This is most certainly not a novelty track but an emancipated political and Sapphic sexual anthem. That's only a pair, but there isn't a weak cut on the set despite its indulgence in hedonism, selfishness, raw sexuality, good-time smack talk, and butt shaking groove. The most amazing thing is it's all done electronically, but most of you'd never notice. Fans of the Young Rascals, Berry Gordy's empire sound, early girl group rock & roll à la Phil Spector, Stax/Volt, the Platters, and old-school female MCs will dig this and be unable to resist. Yeah, it is that good. Hippest thing about this set is that you'll be wrapping your head around the words for countless plays, and the beats for years. All killer, no filler.

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