TOK

Unknown Language (VP Records)

Four years have passed since the release of dancehall quartet TOK's debut, My Crew, My Dawgs, and the controversial single "Chi Chi Man." In the interim, Alex, Flex, Bay C, and Craigy T have amassed an impressive roster of hits, making the long-delayed followup Unknown Language worth the wait. There's the sleek tribute to independent ladies, "Gal You a Lead"; the upbeat soca remake of the calypso classic "Fyah Fyah"; and the uncharacteristically somber chart-topper "Footprints," which is inspired by Jamaica's upward-spiraling murder rate and the death of Alex's brother by a stray bullet. TOK's primary lyrical concern is women (epitomized by their current hit "Hey Ladies"), but the group puts a distinctive spin on this hackneyed topic, effortlessly alternating between dulcet sung vocals and tough-edged rhymes, all of which is delivered over blistering beats.

 
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