After last year’s slept-on EP Almost Famous, Yung Berg’s stock among female fans has risen. With a couple of sultry hits already under his belt (2007’s “Sexy Lady” and the Ray J duet “Sexy Can I”), the Chicago native proved he was a bankable artist. Now the rapper/writer/producer finally emerges with his first long-player, Look What You Made Me.
Berg manifests his love for hip-hop on the title track, citing the impact rap icons like Eminem and 50 Cent have had on his career (“I’m a product of the music/Don’t blame me, blame Jay-Z for me doin’ it how I do it”). But lyrical workouts come few and far between. Instead, Berg recruits a who’s who of R&B talent to smooth out his grooves. First, he tests his magnetic pull on the up-tempo, Amerie-assisted “Get Your Number.” Then, Lloyd’s anorexic falsetto plays wingman to Berg’s mack, over Mr. Collipark’s bouncy 808s, on the smooth “Manager.” Elsewhere, he completely skips the courting and pens “One Night,” a smash-and-dash affair featuring Trey Songz.
Alongside production partners Rob Holiday and JFK, Berg’s nimble flow complements the album’s well-knit pop melodies. On the seductively paced “The Business,” YB matches the track’s twinkling keys and wavering synths, spitting sugary bars (“I really wanna drive you crazy/Wanna kiss, wanna rub, wanna lick, wanna touch, wanna put it inside you, baby”). While it delivers a consistent vibe, the disc’s most glaring offense is the amount of recycled material. Both ’07’s ringtone smash “Sexy Lady” and “Where Do We Go,” featuring Twista, take up space on the short-but-sweet track list. Furthermore, the inclusion of Ray J’s “Sexy Can I” creates even more staleness.
Despite its many influences, Look What You Made Me’s limited themes (girls, girls, girls) cement Berg as a heartthrob and not much else. Still, with his knack for hit making, Yung Berg’s debut LP shows great promise, even if 99 percent of his fans wear high heels. –John Kennedy