Natas

Blaz4me

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AllMusic Review by

The second N.A.T.A.S. release finds the hardcore Detroit trio again trying to be as controversial as possible, and once again their ambition to be shocking results in an overly theatrical album. There are a few songs here with some noteworthy production, such as the guitar riff-driven beats of "I'm Bout 2 Do Sum Dirt" and the interpolation of "One Nation Under a Groove" on "Stay True to Your City," but it's somewhat sad when one realizes that the best moments on Blaz4me result from heavy sampling. So even if Esham, TNT, and Mastermind do stumble onto some interesting ideas quite unlike what anyone else was doing in hip-hop circa 1994, these great moments owe almost as much to Prince and George Clinton (two of the many artists sampled for the album). In fact, the uncredited sampling may be the most interesting aspect of the exploitative Blaz4me; like the Bomb Squad's collage-like approach on It Takes a Nation to Hold Us Back and Dr. Dre's neo-P-Funk sound on The Chronic, Esham crafts a particular aesthetic by endlessly raiding his record collection in classic postmodern fashion. Still, even if he unethically creates an innovative-for-its-time sound that merges Funkadelic guitar distortion with hard mid-'80s Def Jam-like beats, the often ridiculous lyrics ruin whatever validity the music may have. One doesn't need to look any further than the track listing -- "He Raped Me," "Get My Dick out Yo Mouth," "Hands on My Nut Sac" -- to see how juvenile this album's mentality is. Thankfully, NATAS eventually grew as songwriters; unfortunately, this album doesn't showcase anything but ridiculous lyrical content. [Blaz4me was eventually re-released in 2000 with distribution by TVT Records.]

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