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The Rundown with Aryez

Keri Hilson

No Boys Allowed

 She’s only two albums into her music career as a solo artist but Keri Hilson is very familiar on what it takes to write a hit- just check the catalogues of Mary J. Blige, Omarion, The Pussycat Dolls, Britney Spears and plenty of others. Joining the hit-making songwriter clan The Clutch back in 2001 was only the catalyst for what was to come for her as this helped to hone her craft as a background vocalist and arranger. Once 2006 came, it would be the beginning of the much-earned success she has been patiently waiting for as super producers Timbaland and Polow da Don signed her to their Mosley Music (Timbaland) and Zone 4 (Polow da Don) imprints. She released her freshman album in 2009 titled “In a Perfect World” that had overall positive reviews from critics, gaining her international notoriety in New Zealand, Austrailia, Canada and the UK. Now, a gold album and various award nominations later, she is back with “No Boys Allowed”. She states according to Singers Room, “The provocative title, is not what you may think. It’s more about women understanding that there comes a time in your life when you want a man. A real man… I write from a female perspective, but I’m also telling men what women are really thinking and feeling about them. Is her latest effort enough to draw the “real men” in and broaden her audience? Or, will her music prove to only be in its adolescence? Let’s find out in this edition of The Rundown with Aryez…

 “No Boys…” kicks off with the horn-laced, “Buyou” produced by Boi-1Da (Eminem, Drake) which features J-Cole. Hilson’s swag and pride drench all over the track as she denounces maintaining a relationship with a broke partner. She proclaims catchy lines such as One for the paper/ two for the money/ all my girls fly, girls get money, and Sometimes it gets hard/ paying all these bills with no one to call/ so I don’t need no broke, broke, boy trying to holla. J. Cole helps to reiterate her point of why she needs to get away from the financially strained relationship from the male’s perspective. “Pretty Girl Rock” produced by Chuck Harmony (Keyshia Cole, Jazmine Sullivan) samples Grover Washington’s 1980 “Just the Two of Us”. It is the second single ringing in clubs all over and can arguably be Keri’s female version to Soulja Boy’s “Pretty Boy Swag”, with a faster tempo. Polow da Don produces the reggae “Bahm-Bahm (Do It Once Again)”. This is a strong track that will have those with and without dreadlocks slow-grinding and getting low in dancehalls- for sure. Chris Brown features on “One Night Stand” which is a sexual hold-no-prisoners song in which both Hilson and Brown keep it one hundred on what they want to do to one another physically. Ladies will be playing this late night while waiting on that “after the club booty call”.  “Beautiful Mistake” produced by Timbaland (Aaliyah, Missy Elliott) is a bouncy catch with yet a smooth head nod listen where she admits a relationship with a partner just wasn’t right but was good while it last and just stating in the hook it just is what it, we were a beautiful mistake.  The concept and her idea behind the album all come to light on the track “All the Boys”. This is one of those songs that can’t be explained; rather the listener has to just listen. To those feeling they have found love after dealing with the immaturities of the ex’s and getting over young love, this song could be the words you were fishing for to reflect how you now feel. Other notable listens are “Lose Control” featuring Nelly (which the vocal arrangements could remind the listener of the song “Energy” from the “In a Perfect World” album), “The Way You Love Me” featuring Rick Ross, “Toy Soldier” and “Breaking Point”.

 With every song she is featured on or going in solo throughout her young career, Hilson shows signs of continuous growth as an artist all around. Her writing ability is clear and concise where the listener understands her directness at what the actual content of the song is. Once in a while, she then lashes out a metaphorical tongue that shows she can lead her listeners into the abstract as well. She knows when and how to be cocky and subtle, and knows when to go in on tracks or when to fallback expressing a softer side. The album’s production as a whole can be everywhere, not allowing the listener to understand which direction or tempo it’s going. This can be argued as showing adaptation to a variety of beats. At times, the production can overpower her, shadowing creative lines that get missed. This album could be the soundtrack to the eighteen year-olds slumber party her summer before leaving out for college. The “futuristic slow jam” sound in the music itself is fun and appeals to teen or adolescent crowds while the content is interesting enough for the thirty and under audience. Ultimately, “No Boys Allowed” has shown listeners, especially women that there comes a time in life when you need grow and need to find mature love, with mature people. With that said, will the real men please stand for Miss Keri baaaaaaaaaaby…

 -Aryez     

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