Natural‘s third solo project, Ways To Go, is – put simply – his best yet. The Boston native teamed up with DJ Booth to premiere the free album earlier this week, and the immediate response – which included an invitation to Shade 45’s Showoff Radio last night – has been exceptionally positive.
Ways To Go features elevated production, a broad range of subject matter, and above all, eleven tracks unquestioningly fueled by passion and heart. The body of work is a telling documentation of Natural’s journey in music and life over the course of the past year – open and honest at all times, and hard-hitting, gritty and poignant all at once. The lead single, “State Of Grace” (watch official video below), set the tone for the tape in the sense that Natural aims to represent something much greater than himself throughout Ways To Go. He is a storyteller by nature, but one that has a tremendous relatabilty factor and never fails to lose close touch and connection with his listeners. “State Of Grace” came with its own mission and doubled as a hint of what was to come with the rest of the project – a bigger, more wholesome sound than anything fans have heard from Natural in the past.
The guest appearances on here were chosen tastefully and wisely. There are features on four of the tracks – one being the Charmingly Ghetto and Dutch ReBelle-assisted “City Kids,” a hit by any rational definition and my clear cut favorite. Incredible Chuck of Notoriety and April Stanford contribute well-placed vocals on “Dark Clouds” and “State Of Grace,” respectively, and J The S delivers a standout verse on the Mark Merren-produced “How We Do.”
Producer Teddy Roxpin, the biggest name out of the talented bunch of beatmakers, gets a supporting actor of the year nomination for his contributions on here, which include “Wait Ya Turn” and “Fire Cracker” in addition to the anthemic “City Kids.” He and Natural connected for the title track off his last project, and the increase in collaborative efforts this time around results in even bigger and better things.
Ways To Go is a homegrown project, with essentially all contributions coming from Boston-based artists and producers, and that fits conveniently with Natural’s MO as an artist. He never attempts to do too much, and his intentions are dually transparent. He’s risen as a trusted voice in Boston in a number of spheres, and his position in the music world is only becoming more solidified by the day. The 11-track project is available for free download below. Enjoy, and stay tuned for much more from the unofficial mayor of Beantown.