(SOAR, 2001)

After listening to this disc, my only wish was that I could have heard the first one, A Place Called Survival, as well. Natay is a "rapper," and does some great hip-hop as well. However, parents don't panic if your kid brings home this disc. Natay is actually a good influence and has some decent things to say and perhaps teach to the youth of the world.

Natay is a 2002 "Best Rap" Grammy nominee, and deservedly so. This man is not only FAST with the speech, but he's clear, clean and understandable. This is old school rap at its finest. In fact, when my kids caught the strains of this disc, they were suddenly in my face with a ton of helpful comments. Seriously, Natay managed to beat out Nelly in my daughter's opinion, and the son was asking if he could maybe have this disc when I'd finished the review. It is nice to see the generation gap closed a little bit with the aid of music.

Natay is a Native American, bringing a Navajo twist to this music format. As it states on the liner notes, this is "a tribal experience." And it is a blend of cultures, of viewpoints, of generations, of the cry of our youth. Natay shows himself as a master rapper, the cadences and rhyming ability is exceptional. Sure, this may be "old school" rap, but he does it very well.

"Pray For Me" has an incredible piano intro, which continues throughout the piece. It adds a depth I've never heard before in rap/hip-hop. The almost off-key chording is one minute sorrowful and reflective, the next almost mourning. "Tough Love" was a harsh lesson of the '80s, and it's extended to the "pony soldiers." There's hope in this song, and it is a track that will stick with you.

"TNT" stands for "True Native Thugz." This is the piece of society that Natay has chosen to represent; those who are forgotten and fall between the cracks, the young inner city Native population. I found this most prominent in his third track, "Notoriuz Warriorz," which dealt with the realities of this group -- worldwide. It has a strong pulse, and holds some reason for pride.

The piano returns for a prominent position in Natay's big hit off of this disc -- "Thiz Life." This one will break your heart. Children left alone, neglected to grow up as best they can while their parents are off doing something else. The story of the inner city is told here, but with a great message of hope and change. The state of things should be faced and not ignored, by all of us. Background vocals on this track are provided by daRoze.

Natay has taken the ills in his life and turned them to a good purpose. He'll open the eyes of the general public, if they can see past the "tough guy" exterior and hear his words as they are spoken. There is hope out there, and Natay personifies it.

[ by Naomi de Bruyn ]
Rambles: 5 October 2002

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