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World Music CD Reviews Reggae & Caribbean

T.O.K.

By Judson Kilpatrick
Published September 22, 2005

Unknown Language
VP

T.O.K. started out emulating Boyz II Men and entertaining tourists on  Jamaica’s hotel circuit. Now, with their second album, they’ve become the most dynamic foursome in dancehall. Their debut was noteworthy (it  featured Bounty Killer and Shabba Ranks), but this one is packed with hits. With its ascending repetition of the group’s name and infectious  chorus, “She’s Hotter” (remix) is essentially the T.O.K. anthem. Producer Bobby Konders has one of the biggest hits of his career with “Gal You Ah Lead”—the wailing chorus is the very definition of a musical “hook.” And speaking of wailing, check out producer Tony “C.D.” Kelly’s “Neck Breakers” which features what sounds like a stereotypical Native American chant. Other winners include T.O.K.’s mournful tribute to a late friend (“Footprints”), the soca-style “Fire Fire” and their energetic remake of the S.O.S. Band’s classic “Tell Me If You Still Care.” Actually, “energetic” is the key word, as these guys mic-fight throughout each song (e.g. “Hey Ladies” over Donovan “Vendetta” Bennett’s Jonkanoo rhythm). This fiery combination of chatting and singing guarantees T.O.K. an enduring legacy.