Pulsing forth with a sway that is indicative of the swagger behind her lyrics, Lisa G. Allen is on fire from the get-go in her debut single “Big Momma,” and she doesn’t seem to care whether or not you’ve heard her name before. Rather than approaching this familiar hook, sourced from The Notorious B.I.G., with a reticent charisma that has become all too common among those recording throwback tracks like this one, she comes in with a ferocity that I don’t hear very much out of rookie artists, no matter what kind of music they’re recording.

There’s no resistance from the mix or the backdrop; for the better part of this song’s nearly six-minute running time, we’re at the mercy of Allen and Allen alone, allowing for her to really show off a muscularity in melodies that I haven’t been exposed to very often in 2022 thus far. Ronnue takes up the job of producing this track with a dexterity similar to what we’ve heard out of his own work in the past, but to be fair, he’s working with such a strong set of pipes here that the demands on his role are fairly minimal. “Big Momma” might take a lot of cues from the old school in this genre, but it’s anything but unoriginal. 

The biggest difference between this piece and the majority of retro content I cover as a journalist is the total lack of saccharinity in the harmonies. I don’t feel like I’m listening to something that has been overtly recycled or stretched the least bit thin; if anything, Allen puts a wholly unique spin on the melodies to prevent that from ever being an issue.

The bass is a bit more excessive than what I would usually care for, but this is an instance where it isn’t indulgent for nothing – it’s actually facilitating a better melodic edge for this singer than something more minimalistic in style would have. The sample, despite being one that I’ve heard a hundred times over (and perhaps just as many different iterations thereof), is one that matches up well with Allen’s fluid singing style, and it makes it easier for us to take note of the charisma she wields with little more than tone and poetic skill. 

If this track is giving us a glimpse into what Lisa G. Allen is going to be dropping on the regular, you can count on seeing her name in the headlines a lot more often as she adds to her currently small-scale discography. She has the right producer for her sound in Ronnue, but I will say that it wouldn’t hurt for her to look at numerous creative possibilities with the versatile style she’s working with right now. Hers is one of the more disappointingly underwhelming scenes in America right now, but even if this weren’t the case I think she would be a standout singer for sure. She’s got talent that is undeniable in “Big Momma,” and I’m eager to see it grow. 

Garth Thomas