Mila J’s younger sister Jhené Aiko’s star has really risen since her return to music in 2011 and the release of her Sailing Soul(s) mixtape that year. Which lead to her signing with Chicago and Hip-Hop legend No I.D.’s Def Jam Recordings distributed label, ARTium Records.
Like Jhené, Mila took a lengthy hiatus from her early years in music before coming back in 2012 with a new more rough-around-the-edges moniker, Japollonia. A name she would release her mixtape, Battlefield America Soundtrack Vol. 1, under. Which she mostly collaborated with producer Jahlil Beats on and was mainly supported by the music video for “Blinded.”
Though older and big her own right, Mila has somewhat followed in her younger sister’s footsteps by releasing an EP (under a legendary label in it’s own right, Motown Records) with several features before releasing her full-length debut album. With Mila releasing her EP, M.I.L.A., which stands for Made In Los Angeles towards the middle of last month on October 14th.
Now back to her original stage name as Mila J with her M.I.L.A. EP, the Los Angeles singer/songwriter gets to really show off her versatility as an artist and all the different types of music she inherited from growing up in the music and entertainment capitol of the world.
This is very clear from the opening record of the EP, My Main, where Mila right away shows the current LA club-ready tried and true Ty Dolla $ign and DJ Mustard hit formula with her own female twist on it. The next record, Champion, which features B.o.B is a real standout with it’s inspiring Rocky-themed type backdrop that let’s Mila and Bobby tell how they’re going to get it on with their significant others like a rough and tough boxing match in the bedroom. Champion in the thick of things though is more so an ode and inspiring, motivational record for us to all work hard to be champions at whatever we choose to do in life.
Where Mila J is really able to shine on the project is the middle records like Times Like These and Pain In My Heart. Times Like These is by far the best record on M.I.L.A. and with it’s very 90’s R&B inspiration, the soulful ballad really allows the Los Angeles native to her amazing vocals and how she can really make inspiringly, emotional songs that really touch others and change people’s lives when they are going through hard times and need songs like that to help them get though those tough times in their life. Pain In My Heart is another record that really let’s Mila show her amazing vocals, lyrics and storytelling rather nicely. As the Los Angeles native shows off her Japanese roots over the chants and keys of the K.E. production, which sounds like it’s from the perfect Japanese harmonic backdrop and really lets Mila passionately pour out her pain and heartbreak by very emotionally singing about the messed up love triangle she’s in where she can’t get over her ex, even despite knowing he was no good for her. Fellow L.A. native Problem, who lends a rather nice guest verse seeming to be that ex she cant’ get over.
The closing record of the project, Smoke, Drink, Break-Up, ironically enough is the single and record that really launched Mila J’s major comeback earlier this year. With the hit records very addictive, smooth and intoxicating sound, which has a bit more of an edge to it and the aggressive passion in Mila’s voice and lyrics sounding like a lot of classic 90’s R&B you hear and surely had a major influence on her sound. Overall M.I.L.A. is a project that despite the one mishap (My Main, which is to repetitive after several listens), is a pretty solid release you can almost play the whole way through and why it gets a very solid 4 1/2 out of 5 rating. M.I.L.A. not only shows that Mila J was “Made In Los Angeles,” but the versatility it gave her in sound, music, dance and culture, which is highlighted throughout the project, is why the Los Angeles singer/songwriter, rapper and dancer has a very promising future in music ahead of her and will be around for many more years to come.