City Paper is not for tourists.
This debut CD by the unsigned Chicago hiphop duo All Natural recalls the daisy age of A Tribe Called Quest, Jungle Brothers, and De La Soul with its fierce declarations of independence and utterly unique take on the genre. DJ Tone B. Nimble creates deep grooves out of the shallowest equipment; lo-fi hiphop is an oxymoron in this Puffyed-up age, but Tone works with the ingredients he has, baking beats and chopping up fresh samples like a first-class chef in a fast-food restaurant. At the drop of Tone’s needle, MC Capital D dishes up raps that are both intelligent—like on “Niggas B Lyin’,” (“Since every MC claims that he’s so hard/Y is every MC’s face not scarred?/Since every MC claims that he b God/Y ain’t we free?”)—and comical, as on the skit-introduced “Phantoms of the Opera” (“Rap is like an opera, a tragedy/Full of sons & dancing kids who think they Butch Cassidy”). The CD’s accompanying 96-page book, Fresh Air, features Capital D’s essays on hiphop culture and reprints his detailed anti-misogyny, anti-violence, anti-materialism lyrics. All Natural’s hiphop is 100 percent phat. But at this table, gluttony is not a sin.