Review Summary: ATL girl brings new flavor to the female R&B field. Crunktastic!
You may not know Keri Hilson- but you know her music.
Whether it’s been her vocals on Timbaland’s 2007 “The Way I Are” or her penning behind artists like Ciara, Usher, Ludacris, and Britney Spears tracking back to 2001, Hilson has always been behind the music scene, and because of several failed single launches, her debut album has been two years overdue. But no more- Hilson is finally hitting stores, and the samplers from In A Perfect World
have been two critically-acclaimed hip-hop/R&B singles of last and this year: “Energy”, a ticking ballad about love in the process of being lost, and the crunk-tastical chart-topper “Turnin’ Me On”, featuring Lil’ Wayne, on which Keri brings femme fatale-filled sass over a beat that comes off as a spacey Atlanta playground.
That’s precisely where Hilson was born and raised, and if you can’t feel that influence on a large part of Perfect World
’s 14 tracks, most heavily produced by popular hip-hop big heads Timbaland, Danja, and Polow Da Don, she’s sure to remind you. Most noticeable, Keri goes hardest on “Get Your Money Up”, a fast-paced Keyshia Cole and Trina collaboration that claps and vibrates almost seizure-like, but in a good way. “I wanna see something better than the MARTA bus,” she warns the boys, meaning you’ve got to afford more than local Atlanta transportation if you want a shot with her.
And there’s more goods where that came from, as Keri’s debut is part hip-hop swag, part R&B diva, and part pop queen- but all enjoyable. There’s the quitely oozing “Intro” where she tells you exactly what it takes to get her loose (Hennessey and Apple Juice, fyi). “How Does It Feel” is a mid-tempo thud of a track under Keri’s warnings (“Better keep it real with yourself / Before you end up by yourself…”) “Return The Favor”, on the other hand, is an example of her musical diversity: it sparkles with electronic pop as she experiments in dirty talk with Timbaland (“I’ll be a bad girl, punish me,”).
There's even more collaborations here: Kanye and Ne-Yo contribute to the neat and radio-friendly "Knock You Down", but "Change Me" seems off at times with all the screaming; at others, there's just too much going on, and Keri and Akon don't match each other at all. But she can slow it down nicely: “Intuition” churns with an Arabian vibe, “Make Love” is slow, sweet baby making music, and “Slow Dance” is even better sex: the beat sensually explodes under Keri’s moaning falsetto.
Overall, In A Perfect World
, though overdue, boasts a late arrival of a multi-talent who is finally getting her due while giving you your money’s worth. Perfect? No, but a very solid debut.