** Jungle Brothers, "V.I.P.," Gee Street/V2. Always operating ahead of hip-hop's musical curve has been a blessing and a curse for this New York group, which is now trimmed down to the duo of Afrika and Mike G. After conquering hip-hop and house music during their decade-plus career, they apparently thought tackling electronica would be a logical next step. Unfortunately, the pair's good-natured raps on their fifth album (in stores Tuesday) seem little more than an afterthought to the lengthy, uninspired soundscapes from producer Alex Gifford.
Albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor), two stars (fair), three stars (good) and four stars (excellent). The albums are already released unless otherwise noted.