The Lost Boyz

LB IV Life

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The Lost Boyz third manifestation LB IV Life completes a tumultuous year for the Jamaica, Queens triumvirate -- a year in which they lost not only a member of their core unit, but a family member with the tragic shooting death of hypeman Freaky Tah (which obviously casts an ominously somber ambience over this release). Still, the Lost Boyz' prosperity still depends heavily upon the effectiveness of frontman Mr. Cheeks. Relying on charisma, rather than content, Cheeks' strongest attribute remains firmly entrenched in the hook department. While not majestic in nature, there is a simple yet irresistible quality attached to his gravelly voice, and there is no escaping the urge to murmur his catch phrases aloud. Cheeks and company sound convincing over the fevered strings of "Take a Hike" and the Queens rock & roll number "Plug Me In." Their alluring lead single "Ghetto Jiggy" is destined for heavy rotation and fully illustrates the Lost Boyz's good-time brand of hip-hop. The second half of this disc, however, finds the Lost Boyz falling prey to previous Achilles' heels such as drab production, and crossover casualties suffocate the LP's continuity. Ultimately LB IV Life encompasses both the best and worst of what the Lost Boyz have to offer hip-hop's masses, with little variance in between.

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