Unity 2

What Is It, Yo?!

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When singers Lionel "Nene" Bernard and Sean "Cavo" Dinsmore left the Toasters, it was in answer to the call of the big time: a lucrative offer from Reprise Records, who thought that interracial reggae/hip-hop fusion was going to be the next big thing. Maybe it could have been, but not on the strength of this album, which bombed, and with good reason. There were several reasons, actually, but the two most important ones were an almost complete dearth of hooks and an abundance of excruciatingly bad lyrics (i.e., "Hey Cavo, that girl's so fly, she's got wings!") delivered in an amateurish flow by both rapper and singers. "Brooklyn Story" is Cavo's whining account of getting mugged on the D train, while "Interview," "What Is It, Yo?!," and "Funky Reggae Stylee" all address -- with little musical interest -- Cavo and Nene's upbringing, genuine streetsmarts, musical prowess, and (big) plans for the future. "Funky Reggae Stylee" is both funky and hooky, but it is marred by Nene's awkward rap that doesn't rhyme; "Can You Feel It" is a surprisingly effective, if lightweight, soca workout. The album has one genuine success, the cute "Shirlee" (provided in two mixes), but it's nowhere near enough. Despite heartwarming band demographics and a full complement of ace studio musicians, this album and group both sink.

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