Mila J

Split Personality

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Singer and occasional rapper Mila J was only 22 when she released this, her first album, but she had been around for a while. She sat on Rosie Gaines' lap in Prince's video for "Diamonds and Pearls," was part of a short-lived group called Gyrl (see the B.A.P.S. soundtrack), and appeared on tracks by RaRa, IMx and Omarion. The common denominator in each one of her recording sessions has been career orchestrator and producer Chris Stokes. To little surprise, Stokes surrounds Mila on Split Personality with a number of his protégés and associates: Marques Houston, Young Rome, Rufus Blaq, and the Underdogs are just a few of them. Mila's voice is pleasantly sweet and young sounding, but it's never flashy or overly demonstrative. The batch of productions Stokes gathers -- also involving Poke & Tone, Trackmasters, and Happy Perez -- is as solid and complementary as they are on his previous projects. This is light, endearing R&B that might take a few listens to sink in; the hooks are neither tremendous nor obvious, but they tend to be strong enough to keep your attention. Thankfully, Mila's rapping ("They know she will kill a song/Ever seen a girl in a chinchilla thong?") is kept to a minimum. [This album was shelved prior to release.]

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