November 09, 1998 12:00 PM

Dru Hill (Island Black Music)

The Baltimore foursome Dru Hill climbed the charts with its multiplatinum 1996 R&B debut Dru Hill. Like its most obvious influence, the far superior Jodeci, Dru Hill offered highly charged, highly sexualized bump-and-grind odes sung with church-infused harmonies. Some of that salacious spirit is still evident this time. Case in point: the hip-hop flavored “This is What We Do,” which features Method Man (of the hip-hop group Wu-Tang Clan) delivering a rap that’s more explicit than the Starr report.

When Enter the Dru stays on the nasty side, it’s a guilty pleasure. Then, as if Mom just caught them in the rec room with a copy of Playboy, the boys put the brakes on the party and deliver a series of well-crafted but utterly unmemorable ballads. Yes, they can sing. But the showboating vocals are wasted on lackluster material; ultimately, Dru Hill fails to reignite the fire it kindled a few years ago.

Bottom Line: The second time’s not the charm

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