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CD Review: Keri Hilson

In a Perfect World (Mosley/Zone 4/Interscope)

This 26-year-old Atlantan got her start strutting in Usher's "Love in This Club" video and singing "The Way I Are," the only good song on Timbaland's last solo album. Hilson gets a superstar boost from Tim (and Lil Wayne, Keyshia Cole, Kanye, Ne-Yo and Akon) on her long-delayed debut. Yet she comes off fiercely independent on In a Perfect World ..., throwing smackdowns left and right to undeserving guys ("Return the Favor" rides one of Tim's electro-staccato beats) and dishing out go-girl support (on the handclap-driven "Get Your Money Up"). Hilson can't keep the momentum for a full hour, and too many of the club jams settle into the background. But she makes even generic slow cuts like "Energy" throb. Best of all, "Turnin Me On" features a typical Weezy-in-outer-space freestyle.

Michael Gallucci

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