Review: Mocha – Bella Mafia

Mocha’s Bella Mafia album is a blatant knock-off album of Lil Kim’s albums The Notorious K.I.M. and La Bella Mafia all mixed together. It was clear Missy Elliott had attempted to mold Mocha into a carbon copy of Lil Kim thus biting off her style. Mocha with her wack raps don’t really help make this album stand out much or prosper. The pauses and delays in her raps made her unbearable to listen to. She sounded too much like Lil Kim, Eve, Amil, and several other female rappers at the time. On top of that, the songs and singles from this album are wack and forgettable. Even Timbaland’s production doesn’t do much in the way of compensation. Incredibly lame is one way to describe the album. The only good songs are Mardi Gras, Runnin’ Shit, and The Jewels. The rest of the album is wack and lame.

Yes, this was the same Mocha who took most of the spotlight at the very beginning of Make It Hot. The same Mocha who was a former Missy Elliott protégée. You might have remembered her “small run” which lasted from 1997 to 2000.

Production for the album dated all the way back to 1999 when Mocha explained to Billboard magazine in their June 1999 issue that she had plans to recruit Missy as a chief producer for the project and name her debut as “Hot Chocolate” before revising it to “Bella Mafia”. Now her debut album was originally titled “Hot Chocolate”. But to avoid disambiguation and any marketing conflicts, she retitled her debut album to “Bella Mafia”.

Mocha’s Bella Mafia album was scheduled to be released in 2000. However Missy postponed Mocha’s album release date because she signed Torrey Carter to the label as he had an underground buzz going for him at the time as 2000 was destined to be Torrey’s year.

However her first three buzz singles Runnin’ Shit, Mardi Gras, and I Know Whatcha U Likes failed to chart onto the Billboard Charts. Those singles did not impact any Billboard chart. So as a result Elektra and Missy Elliott shelved Mocha’s debut album unsurprisingly. Bella Mafia remains not only shelved but unfinished. It was probably for the best her debut album remained shelved as nobody was really looking out for Mocha as they were Missy Elliott, Gina Thompson, and Nicole Wray.

I Know Whutchu Like is a corny cartoonish rap song with some lame raps from Mocha which really isn’t noteworthy. The only thing that is enjoyable about the song is Rockwilder’s production and that’s basically it. Cartoonish is one word to describe the song. Overall I Know Whutchu Like is an unsurprisingly mediocre song. However some rap fans called the song a nice joint.

Runnin’ Shit is one of the more noteworthy songs on her album which was her first buzz single that was issued on vinyl in 2000. The song is actually good. Timbaland’s production was a bit fun during this era. He really put his foot in it with the production.

Mardi Gras was an uptempo Spanish-flavored tune produced by Timbaland with guest appearances by Missy Elliott, Lil Mo, and cameo vocals by Puerto Rican R&B singer Elsie Muniz. The upbeat Spanish-flavored tune features sole production by Timbaland with a bit of Latin music. Sadly this is only one of the 3 good songs on the album.

I rate this album 1/5*.

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