Teairra Mari

Seventeen-year-old 'round-the-way-girl Teairra Mari's airy but rock-solid soprano and wanton girl-next-door charm have earned her the title "Princess of the Roc" and landed her a spot in Jay-Z's Midas whip. And for that she can thank her lyricist dudes: They got teen-anxiety zeitgeist down. Teairra tears through juicy jilted-girl anthems. There are the requisite songs about boys who don't act right, and flossy teen-player joints revolving around desire, self-respect, and fights with mom at the payphone. There's even a finger-wagger that links lil' Teairra's prudence in keeping her pants on to growing up with "no daddy." But though the album sports the sort of R&B street bangers ("Get Up on Ya Gangsta," "Confidential," and "La La") that temper mesmerizing rap bounce with hot music-box melodies, too many of the tracks bump like Just Blaze lite -- all of his low-end syncopation and none of his juice. You would've thought that for the Princess of Roc-a-Fella, Jigga could've sprung for the real thing. -- Julianne Shepherd

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