Vintage Rap with Fresh Bite
|By AMIR SAID (SA'ID)|
BeatTips Rating: 4.5/5
The knee-jerk tendency is to say that these four rap veterans have “brought back” this style and sound. Truth is much more simpler than that: This style and sound has never left.
Ayatollah has always made smoothly grungy sample-based beats with drums that matter more than thin tin cans. Big Noyd has always made karate-hard rap music that was street serious in rhyme tone, flow, and approach. Large Professor has always dropped rhymes with a steadfast delivery and lyrical chip on his shoulder that conjures up the MC bravado that triumphed at the height of the park-jam era. And Kool G Rap—1/3 of the lyrical trinity that includes Rakim and Big Daddy Kane—has always worked beats as part street poetic, part human film projector, using rhyme bars to seer close-up street experiences and lyrical dexterity in the minds of rap fans.
So the aptly titled “Naturally Born” is not new in the sense that these four stewards of hip hop/rap music are drudging up something lost or forgotten. What is new (or perhaps renewed), however, is the force and intensity of this latest non-tinkerbell offering from four rap pros who collectively tout a long list of similarly biting songs.
The beat is no less than one of Ayatollah's best. Apparent here, as with all of Ayatollah's work, is real-feel timing and a slicing snare that registers in the mix just above a tuck. Then there's the main sample work, where Ayatollah uses a small guitar pluck and riff to rupture the smoothness and otherwise sadness of the strings. Chopping ain't easy; and looping your chops is never as easy as the uninitiated to beatmaking would have some believe. And here, Ayatollah keeps the theme and feel of the beat steady, splashing in a perfect tambourine sprinkle here and there throughout. Through in the scratch hook, cut up by DJ Dutchmaster, and what you have is a hook that comments on the present while nicely backing the theme of "Naturally Born" with some of rap's 2nd Golden era voices.
If “Naturally Born” is any indication of the quality to be found on the forthcoming Coalmine Records compilation, Unearthed, then I suspect it will be one of 2013’s best reviewed and best selling hip hop/rap projects.