Unleash the Dragon

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By the end of his debut solo album, Dru Hill's finest singer, Sisqó, has beaten the same rhythmic pattern, which is churned in and out of nearly every song, into the ground. Loaded with whispered bedroom moans, which have become late-'90s R&B clichés, Unleash the Dragon is short on any real songs to justify the pointless replay of these familiar grooves. Only when he actually unleashes his inner dragon, like on the club thumper "Thong Song," does Sisqó sound at all like the ferocious soulman he fancies himself to be. There's also little distinction among the guest spots here (though Make It Hot's turn on the jittery "Got to Get It" offers some sparks). And once the beats -- which borrow heavily from the contemporary R&B playbook -- are programmed, there's little for Sisqó to do but coast along the grooves, with all the conviction and commitment of a soul robot.

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