May 07, 2014

Nature "Next" Feature In Vibe Magazine (June, 1999)

"I'd rather be the underdog and do real good," says soft-spoken Nature, "than have a lotta hype then bust." On this chilly March day, Nas's 23-year old protege appears to have an unwavering air of confidence... With a tight debut album set for summer release, Nature's feelin' good about life in the rap game. Before he was Nature, Jermaine Baxter was a shorty coming up in NYC's notorious Queensbridge projects. He and Nas went to the same school. Then in 1997, after a three-year bid, Nature linked up with his illmatic counterpart and was thrust into the spotlight as the fourth member of the Firm, featuring Nas, Foxy Brown, and AZ. But pressures from outside and within the group left Nature with a bitter taste in his mouth. "In the Firm there was, like, a lot of different egos and politics involved," he says. "Excluding myself, you had three heads who sold millions of records on their own. But when it came time to come together, the whole image wasn't pure." "The Firm was on a gangsta vibe," Nas would later say, "while Nature's bringing that gritty shit. Brothas ain't get a chance to hear (Nature's) side of the story yet. And I want brothas to feel the fire and anguish of his story." (Updated: I've never found a CD-Q of this track, but let's go back to the mixtape days with DJ Clue's exclusive Nature cut, "If I Ain't A Thug." Got a copy?) Cont'd below...

"Nature's being very cautious with his forthcoming solo debut, For All Seasons (Trackmasters/Columbia). He tests tasty selections like the raw jail tune "Biddin' It" on the ears of folks in his Queens neighborhood. So don't expect to hear any Cristal-poppin', radio-friendly R&B rap. "Personally, I don't dance," Nature says, grinning. "I respect dance music, but I'm trying to make tough songs. I want to add to the game, not subtract from it." Following in the footsteps of Nas, Nature also sees his impending success as a bridge for his new group of rappers, Wild Gremlins, to build upon. "We went all year with Harlem World," Nature says jokingly. "Much love to them, but we want to go back to Queens for a little while." This underdog will have his day." - Vibe (6/99).