Multi-instrumentalist Saadiq was the backbone of the R&B band Tony! Toni! Tone!, Robinson was the vivacious member of the cookie-cutter girl-group En Vogue, and Muhammad dropped more than a platter's worth of memorable beats for the hip-hop group A Tribe Called Quest. With so much talent locked into one studio, some predicted greatness, but Lucy Pearl doesn't offer enough variety to meet such lofty standards, despite dabbling in rock, employing a collegiate marching band, and enlisting Q-Tip and Snoop Dogg for cameos.
Saadiq and Robinson collaborate nicely on "Dance Tonight," but they also take turns handling lead vocals. Robinson's high-pitched whine injects "Don't Mess With My Man" with girl-power adrenaline, warning "hands off" in a manner that suggests she's reveling in this tough-gal role, while Saadiq's nasal crooning on "Without You" gives the tune a sense of emotional urgency. Muhammad contributes plenty of infectious grooves, but the group never really takes any risks, perhaps because the artists were not yet comfortable enough with one another. Most all-star projects are one-off affairs, but should this trio stay together, it might eventually gel well enough to produce the kind of great record people expected Lucy Pearl to be.