Nature Sounds has been building as strong a
catalogue as any New York
based independent label could ever hope for. Their past benchmarks include the
acclaimed Black Market Militia self-titled debut, what is
heavily regarded as the last ‘true’ Wu-Tang albumMasta
No said Date – a walk on the wild side with RA
The Rugged Man’s
Die Rugged Man, Die and the ever enchanting MF
Special Herbs collection. So for such a relatively
young label, they’re definitely on the right track.

You can add one more solid release to your shelves, because Natural
is quick to please. Important for any growing label, it captures
the truly unique and definitive resonance Nature Sounds has,
easily establishing itself by differentiating from others. The ‘raw New York feel’ is so
strong and so consistent on this record this might as well have had a 1993
release date attached. Living legend Pete Rock made sure of
this, lacing one incredible instrumental to support Masta Killa
and Raekwon on “The PJs”; this song is a must-cop for all of you who miss
that “NY State
of Mind
,” “D’evils,” and “C.R.E.A.M” imagery and are tired of
today’s artists painting flowery images of street life by writing shitty songs
about how cool it is to shoot people. Underdog producers Dev 1,
Dj Fakts and Bronze Nazareth more than hold
their own when supplying for RA the Rugged Man who absolutely
destroys his parts – have your rewind button finger ready when he, Bootcamp,
and Black Market Militia come on.

provides exactly what can be expected from a MF DOOM and Ghostface
collaboration. A sampled beat crafted to perfection by the
, and Ghost doing what he does best – spitting a
bunch of shit that sounds dope. As far as DOOM’s verse goes,
well… it’s a DOOM verse. The only tracks that don’t seem to
mesh with the rest of the album are the two Strong Arm Steady
joints. It’s not that they’re of any less quality, but the Cali
sound comes thumping through, and if you know anything about hip-hop, you know
that L.A. is not N.Y., and N.Y. is not L.A. The first thing that
came to mind for me when listening to “You Aint Me,” produced by Da
and featuring Ras Kass and Chamillionaire,
was “this is ill…but what’s Xzibit
doin’ here?

All in all, solid production, a Brooklyn style
that’s seemingly been forgotten in this day and age, and a stellar cast list
make this a dope release any label should be proud of. “Angels,” and Rugged
alone make this better than most of the crap that clogs the
airwaves today. Be prepared for the complete opposite of the flash and
theatrics modern Hip Hop has become because the aptly named Nature
presents Natural Selection does nothing more than
provide us ‘that raw shit’ that used to the defining feature of Hip Hop music.