Rie Rie

Ms. Rie knows a little something about marketing. Before releasing her self-titled debut album, she introduced herself to industry pros via Mile Hi Mixtapes, a promotional disc on which she interspersed examples of her work with cuts from the likes of Scarface and B2K. It's doubtful that talent scouts listened past the second track, a remix of the Beyonce/Jay-Z joint "Crazy in Love." But the star-makers who bailed at that point had already heard Rie Rie spell out the address to her website (www.rie2tharie.com) so they'd know precisely where to find her.

Of course, a commercial sensibility only gets a performer so far -- and while Rie Rie is certainly accessible, it's not quite up to big-league standards. The production, by a quartet of dial-twisters such as Playalitical and 800 da Jewell, is a bit thin and not particularly distinctive; "Killarado," for instance, recalls Dre from way back in the day. Rie Rie's caustic flow helps, but her rhymes hardly epitomize freshness. On "I Be Doin' Dat," she boasts about her "hostile originality," only to toss out lines like "Give my niggas love" and "Meet you at da club."

Sound familiar? So does the rest of the CD -- but a couple of cuts manage to overcome this drawback. "Hip Hop Hip Hop," featuring Bri and Scratch G, contains the album's best arrangement, replete with a lyrical guitar figure and a group of children shouting the hook; and "Move Ya Body" is so entertainingly mindless a party groove that its lack of uniqueness doesn't matter in the slightest. Songs this strong sell themselves.


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