TeeFLii Finds His Niche On Debut Album ‘Starr’
TeeFLii served up his raw raunchy R&B throughout all of 2014, soaring to the Top 20 of the Hot Rap Songs chart with his DJ Mustard-crafted, 2 Chainz-assisted single, “24 Hours.” The song, although not his first jab at airplay after his breakout single, “This D” started buzzing at local radio in 2013, is themed around a day and was the reason the demand for the California native’s album was so strong. After a long wait, the L.A.-based rapper/MC released his debut album for Epic Records today, titled Starr.
Proving himself twice before, the Excuse My Liquor Ent. signee opens his debut effort with recognizable confidence. TeeFLii doesn’t hesitate to give listeners the sexually-driven material that he’s built his name from, all the while continuing his frequently used “Annie” theme. After the intro track, 'FLii serves up “Action,” a bedroom-housed effort that only TeeFLii could manifest. The songs, intended to get ladies in the mood, are up-tempo club records. It’s safe say that TeeFlii found his niche there, where the content is dirty and the bass is blaring; the music is sure to get the ladies dancing but could easily get them in a more sensual mode in minutes. The first few tracks continue this pattern before the LP slows, when listeners run into the second single, “Blue Lipstick,” featuring Chris Brown.
Producer J-Keys leaves a notable impression on Starr; his work on "Blue Lipstick" holds as one of the stronger records on the effort. Throughout the transition of each track, the experienced engineering is evident. The remaining tracks entering the second half of the project are more instrumental-driven records, strictly for the real music heads. DJ Quik’s mix is heard on “Addicted” and instantly connects, while DJ Mustard’s famous West Coast sound is not strongly recognizable outside of “24 Hours.”
The LP doesn’t have an overwhelming West Coast sound, so TeeFLii over-compensates for that with features. With the exception of Chris Brown and 2 Chainz, all of the guest appearances are from fellow Cali natives. E-40, Nipsey Hu$$le, Skeme, Snoop Dogg, DJ Quik and Dom Kennedy all make appearances on Starr. While radio darlings like Chris Brown and 2 Chainz undoubtedly shine through, fresher faces like Skeme and Dom Kennedy serve up memorable verses.
TeeFLii saves the remaining two singles for the tail end of the album, with “Change Your World” and “24 Hours” being two out of the final three songs. As the project comes to a close, the Cali crooner drives the melodic half of the album home, continuing the theme of more sensual tracks before safely ending on a high note with “24 Hours.” “Love Over Money,” the track prior, is also worth mention.
With Starr, TeeFLii serves up a solid first studio effort. Although the project seems like more of a compilation of his stronger work rather than a cohesive story, the tones of the records inarguably mesh well. The album certainly alludes to the fact that FLii is a capable hit-maker and several records posses the elements of hit records. With the perfect balance of party and pleasure on Starr, the effort most certainly beams bright. —Miranda Johnson