“Big Momma” by Lisa G. Allen

A good hook can win everyone over, but that isn’t the only reason why people seem to be talking about Lisa G. Allen this early summer season. Sure, having someone like the Seattle underground’s Ronnue in your corner does your profile plenty of favors as well, but in her new single “Big Momma” and remix EP of the same name, Allen isn’t fronting with celebrity features, overambitious concepts or cut and dry pop themes that have become so common I can spot them a mile away. She’s putting her voice at the forefront of every mix this song has received, and it’s getting her a lot of well-earned praise.

The standard album version of “Big Momma” has the most stacked mix of the lot, but I wouldn’t say that it feels layered beyond what I’ve come to anticipate out of a lot of alternative R&B and pop lately. This is lacking a fragility that I would eventually like to hear Allen try on in the studio, but it’s also using physicality as a means of boxing in the groove and getting us as frenzied with the rhythm of the music as this singer is with her lyricism.

Allen seemingly wants to stick us with the verses as hard as she can towards the latter half of this single, but her drive is actually one of my favorite features here. There’s no getting around the pulse of the bottom-end in a couple of these mixes, but even with the music video, I think fluidity is made greater thanks to the leading lady in this recording. I do hear more versatility than she’s exploiting, but given that this is one of my first times listening to her solo work, “Big Momma” shouldn’t be much more than a sample offering at most.

I wouldn’t mind a mix made with a harder-hitting club crowd in mind, with a scooped EQ that makes more of the implied swing in the beat, but I also wouldn’t say this isn’t danceable on its own. The frustrating thing about a player like Lisa G. Allen is that while she’s got a lot she can do right now, it’s obvious there’s more to her artistic output that could come into focus with a little more development on the instrumental side here. I love this collection of mixes because of how well it shows us the different dimensions of her artistry, and to think there’s even more to be discovered is especially encouraging as a critic.

With this single and its multiple incarnations, Lisa G. Allen is making an ideal foray into the spotlight that I can see a lot of her peers being a little jealous of, and I believe we’re going to hear even smoother content out of her camp before the year is out. I think that where a lot of other artists would do well to take their time at this moment in their careers, Allen is someone who needs to ride the moment from “Big Momma” hard, and the sooner the better.

Michael Rand

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