Artist: Lost BoyzTitle: ForeverRating: 3 StarsReviewed by: Danielle Stolich
Armed with feel-good party joints and a natural camaraderie that today’s Hip-hop groups lack, The Lost Boyz hit the scene in the mid-90s with memorable songs like “Jeeps, Lex Coups, Bimaz and Benz” and “Renee”. After Freaky Tah’s untimely death in 1999, the crew laid low while frontman Mr. Cheeks’ embarked on a solo career. Enjoying modest success as a solo artist while keeping the LB Fam name alive, Cheeks’ hit paydirt in 2001 with “Lights, Camera, Action”, which was one of that year’s hottest singles. Ten years later the group emerges again with the new album Forever (Legal Drug Money/Contango), released on Cheeks’ label imprint, Legal Drug Money.
The album’s strength is that it never strays far from the typical Lost Boyz formula (feel-good tracks, street tales and odes to the ladies) and of course, Cheeks is at the helm. One of the album’s strongest songs, the bouncy “Not A Test” is classic LB Fam material. Its vibe is so reminiscent of the Lost Boyz’ sound, you’ll expect to hear Freaky Tah’s gruff ad libs at any given moment. Charismatic and witty, Cheeks shines brightest when showing love to the ladies on tracks such as “U R My Love”, “I’m Coming Home” and “Still A Winner”. “Basically” combines a jazzy vibe with a hypnotic horn loop that compliments Cheeks’ flow, making it a track worth mentioning. Cheeks also manages to make Teddy Pendergrass’ oft-sampled “Come Go With Me” sound brand new on “My Way”. Whether wooing an ex-girl or spitting game to a new lady friend, Cheeks finds his niche and never disappoints. Other notable tracks include “Spit Flow” (which samples Nas’ “Last Words”) where an otherwise low-key, and incarcerated, Spigg Nice shows up for a verse, the reflective “All I Know” and “Make Music”. The legendary EPMD also show up for the ride, however Erick (behind the boards on “Keep Ridin'” and “We Ain’t Stoppin”) and Parrish (“Let’s Go”) make their unimpressive cameos separately.
Despite lackluster production on the tracks “Hard Workin'” and “Ordinary Guy”, Forever leaves you feeling like the Lost Boyz never left the game. Although the material breaks no new ground lyrically or musically, Forever gives an entertaining, nostalgic glimpse of what the future could sound like for the Lost Boyz.