Perhaps compensating for the negativity rampant in the rap world, K-Ci & JoJo’s fourth record, Emotional, is not only unrepentantly sincere and soulful, but also one of the duo’s first to completely ignore the influence of hip-hop altogether. Such a level of devotion to R&B is impressive considering the success of so many rap crossovers on the charts; it’s a testament to Cedric and Joel Hailey’s deep respect for the smooth love jams they grew up with. There’s only one problem with Emotional, but unfortunately, it’s a big one. K-Ci & JoJo’s amazing vocals and sincere performances simply aren’t enough to compensate for the bland songs and formulaic arrangements. The single, “This Very Moment,” is a deeply felt performance of an uplifting song, a perfect selection for any contemporary wedding ceremony, but one that simply floats by the listener (like it floated by the charts) without a single element to distinguish it from hundreds of songs in the past. “Special” and “Down for Life” are also relationship songs with a power to melt the heart of any romantic in range, but nothing else to recommend them. The duo are fighting against a tide (as are most of the rap/R&B crossovers feature a male rapper with a female R&B singer anyway), and Emotional simply isn’t strong enough to resist. ~ John Bush

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