September 18, 2014

Nature in Spin Magazine (September, 2000)

"With hip-hop's current fixation on all things bling-bling, blue-collar rapper Nature sticks out like a 40-dog of brew in a case of Moet & Chandon. "People may look at my style in a bad way because they're used to the growling and the big chains," says Nature of his no-frills emphasis on skills. "They brainwashed. I gotta take 'em back and walk 'em through them steps again. 'Cause all the guys I ever liked did it like that." Growing up in the MC fertile Queensbridge housing projects in Long Island City, New York - which also spawned Marley Marl and Mobb Deep - supplied Nature (real name: Jermaine Baxter) with no shortage of musical role models. He's been assaulting urban eardrums since 1997 when fellow QB resident Nas recruited him for overhyped hip-hop supergroup The Firm (which included Foxy Brown and AZ). Dedicating his deadpan cadence to colorful crime-rhymes and ribald confessions ("Doggystyle was my favorite position,") Nature upstaged his jiggier colleagues on thug anthems like "I'm Leaving." But the Firm's champagne-dream image left the 27-year-old with a bad hangover. "We were supposed to be the ill rap crew," he says. "But I couldn't really be accepted rocking suits. It didn't feel street." Peep The Firm's "Phone Tap," cont'd below...

"No such paid-in-full posturing pollutes Nature's solo debut, For All Seasons. It's a crafty platter of metaphorical flair, compelling boy-meets-girl / girl-caps-boy-for-f#cking-around narratives, and vivid ghetto reminisces that recall Nas' early poetics. Furthermore, lines like "You know the motto: we live for today, f#ck tomorrow / We only makin' time for the ho's to swallow" (from "Man's World") demonstrate that Nature's knack for sublimely offensive observations remains intact. "With a lot of guys nowadays, their words kinda dissolve," Nature says. "But I know when I get on the mic, my whole verse isn't gonna go by without you sayin', 'Where those rhymes comin' from?' Comin' from the hood!" - Chairman Mao, Spin Magazine (September, 2000) // Save a copy of the feature below.