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Unknown Language

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Album Review

T.O.K. enjoyed a lot of breakout success in 2001 with their My Crew, My Dawgs album, which was exceptionally popular in the U.S. for a dancehall album, perhaps because it was so poppy. This was prior to Sean Paul's truly massive breakout in 2003, remember, so T.O.K.'s success is all the more remarkable in retrospect. By the time the group returned in 2005 with Unknown Language, however, the dancehall craze ignited by Sean Paul's "Get Busy" and its Diwali riddim had subsided quite a bit, supplanted by the reggaeton craze led by Daddy Yankee and his breakout "Gasolina" single. Not that T.O.K. cared either way, though (even if fans might have, given the long four-year wait). Trend or no trend, wait or no wait, their second album picks up right where their first one left off, with another large serving of catchy dancehall-pop well engineered for both dancing and singing along to. Highlights are plentiful here on Unknown Language, much as they had been on My Crew, My Dawgs. The album-opener, "Hey Ladies," gets the party started right from the get-go. And T.O.K. don't relent from there on, with numerous other standout songs sequenced early, most notably "Fire Fire" (a real barnburner with an appropriate title), "She's Hotter" (a Pitbull feature that seems to address the concurrent reggaeton craze), "Tell Me If You Still Care" (a fun, lively cover of an old S.O.S. Band favorite from 1983), and "Footprints" (a touching anti-violence plea with a sugary-sweet beat). The album fans out a bit from there, though there are still some gems sequenced late, like "Gal You Ah Lead" in particular. With 16 songs in total, there's a lot of music on Unknown Language. Not all of it is first-rate, and it does begin to sound a bit rote toward the end, but that tends to be the case with most any dancehall or reggaeton album. And when you do hold up Unknown Language against any of those other dancehall albums out there in 2005 — or any reggaeton albums, for that matter — it shines, especially the phenomenal first half. So even if four years for a sophomore album is a long time to wait (and yes, it was), Unknown Language was undoubtedly worth that wait.

Customer Reviews

Footprints....

to a legend making band

potential geniuses

Footprints is not only a beautiful song, the words and TOK's voice touch upon a deep and important feeling -- anyone from a teenie-bopper to an authentic music lover should immediately recognize the accuracy and brilliance of meaning when listening to this song. The rest of the CD...gotta say, not there yet. If they could step to the side a bit, and do one album with songs like Footprints, that'll be a masterwork. Still, it's easier to listen to because these guys have that "Unknown Language" which we all recognize and hold dear, but almost never talk about (maybe that's why so many of their tracks are dance songs!).

This song is awesome!!

ok footprints is like the best song.. it's really sad but it's really good. It's not on the radio that much and not overplayed that much so that is really good. Hope y'all like it!!

Biography

Genre: Reggae

Years Active: '00s

From their generally tough stance, it's hard to believe that the reggae dancehall crew known as T.O.K. was originally inspired by crooners Boyz II Men, but that's the way it was. Alistaire McCalla, Roshaun Clarke, and Craig Thompson were all in the school choir at Kingston's Campion College, while friend Xavier Davidson attended Calabar High School. The four singers began T.O.K. — the acronym originally stood for Touch of Klass — in the early '90s, when Motown's glee club foursome were...
Full Bio
Unknown Language, T.O.K.
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