All Natural

Second Nature

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    8
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All Natural's first full-length release in several years is another example of a rap album that should have been shorter. But it's still a satisfying effort despite its excessive length. Capital D delivers fast-paced, intelligent, complex rhymes and seems comfortable with both social consciousness and braggadocio; he's not perfect, however, so sometimes his delivery sounds rushed or his rhymes seem uninspired (e.g., "Mayor Daly" and "On the Daily"). Of course, the album also features several guest MCs, including J.U.I.C.E. (on "Ill Advisory," where his style contrasts effectively with Capital D), Daily Planet's Spotlight (on "Queens Get the Money," whose anti-gold-digger message contrasts with the positivity of most of this album), and Atmosphere's Slug (who shines on "Uncle Sam"). Meanwhile, DJ Tone B. Nimble shows off his turntablist skills and shares production chores with Capital D, Molemen's Memo (who handles the decks on the percussion-heavy "Chatham" and two other tracks) and His-Panik (who layers strings over the heavy bassline of "The Stick Up" and piano over the sloomy drums of "Queens Get the Money"), Lone Catalysts' Jason Rawls (who adds a piano loop that blends perfectly with MC Jason Sands' delivery on "Renaissance"), and G(riot) (whose tracks include the affecting instrumental "The Next Mile"). The production is somewhat uneven, but overall this is a solid, understated, jazz-inflected album that will definitely reward listeners' attention, even though it won't send the future of music in any unexpected directions.

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