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Posted at 12:34 PM ET, 03/11/2011

Album review: J. Holiday, "M.I.A. The Lost Pages"

J. Holiday makes an impressive return with his new mixtape. (Courtesy of the artist)
Love him or hate him, Drake’s 2010 ascent to hip-hop superstardom evaporated the borderline that separated chest-puffing rappers and brokenhearted R&B singers. Flip on your radio in 2011, and you’ll hear plenty of rappers rapping like they’re singing and singers singing like they’re rapping.

J. Holiday fits neatly in the latter category. On his new mixtape — available for free download on, and other sites — the Southeast Washington native toggles between tough talk and pillow talk, crooning in a plangent falsetto or rapping in lisping boasts that lag behind the beat . . . just . . . so.

It’s the first we’ve heard from Holiday since his 2009 album, “Round 2,” and like so many rappers before him, he uses the mix-tape format to sample artists that major label lawyers would otherwise ixnay. There are interpolations of Prince, R. Kelly, Ray Charles, Jay-Z — and Holiday has a voice captivating enough to make it feel like much more than lip service.

By  |  12:34 PM ET, 03/11/2011

Categories:  Album reviews | Tags:  J. Holiday

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