Of late, male R&B groups have become a rare commodity. Hoping to change that is this latest offering from Chris Stokes—the man behind teen throbs B2K, IMx and Marques Houston.

Of late, male R&B groups have become a rare commodity. Hoping to change that is this latest offering from Chris Stokes—the man behind teen throbs B2K, IMx and Marques Houston. With members ranging in age from 19 to 25, this Atlanta- and Los Angeles-based quartet targets an adult audience with soulful, gospel-honed four-part harmonies. Framing the picture is a gritty, street-edged vibe accented by lyrically frank looks at love. Songs like "Breakin the Law," where "moving violation" and other traffic terms are used as metaphors for lovemaking, do not measure up to the group's potential. But N2U's surefire performances on "No . . . Say No," "Beauty" and lead single "Issues" will spirit you back to the good old days of Jodeci and Boyz II Men. In fact, the group's secret weapon just may be Antonio Avant (aka Asa), whose commanding lead vocals recall former BLACKstreet member Dave Hollister.—GM

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

Print