Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Nature's Problem - The Future (Low Key Records, 2000)

Nature's Problem - Welcome To Baltimore City (Hit 'Em Hard Records, 2002)

Nature's Problem was a Baltimore rap duo in the late 90's/early 2000's, formed by Julian Allen, a.k.a. Hulio Shallone, and Chioke Karim, a.k.a. Ostro. As far as I know, they released 3 albums: Code of the Streets, which I don't have, and the two listed above. This is all well before Huli Shallone went solo and released the solo album It's My Turn in 2005, which sold over 10k and had several singles on 92Q. The last song on that album, "It's B-More," was a Nature's Problem reunion track with a verse from Ostro, so I assume that they're still cool and work together, but as far as I know they haven't made any albums together since 2002.

The Future, which was released on Low Key Records (any relation to Low Key God? I have no idea) is a pretty solid album. All the tracks were produced by Sharod "Lil Rod" Malock, and I really like his sound, especially the drum programming [a quick aside, like Dylan K.'s post from back in the day about all the different rappers named in Houston named 50/50: there's similiar confusion about all the producers/DJs named Rod in Baltimore -- there's Rod Lee (club music/hip hop producer), Rodd Mad Flava (92Q DJ), Rod Braxton (club music DJ) and Lil Rod (the Nature's Problem producer). Got it?].

Nature's Problem - "No Remorse" (mp3)
This song isn't really representative of the album, but the beat is crazy and there's some nice fast flows on here.

Nature's Problem - "Lord On My Side" (mp3)
This is one of a few songs on the album where Ostro doesn't rap and it's basically a Huli solo track, but it's more personal and spiritual than a lot of the stuff on his own albums.

Welcome To Baltimore City was a pretty popular record in Bmore back in '02, mainly because of the Rod Lee-produced single "Shake It Shorty." The album also featured a couple collaborations with Lil Flip right around the time he was starting to become a big national star, and Huli included both of those tracks on his self-titled album this year. I don't think this album is quite as good as The Future, some of the production is a little trendy (like, a Timbaland-sounding beat here, a Murder Inc.-sounding beat there). The liner notes list a whole bunch of forthcoming releases from Hit 'Em Hard records, including an Ostro solo album callled Pimpin' The Game (did this ever come out? Huli kinda dominates the NP stuff but I'd like to hear more from Ostro), a Hulio solo album called From the Block to the Top, which I guess is what eventually became It's My Turn (or maybe there's a whole other album I never heard), and a Hit' Em Hard Hustlers compilation and movie.

Nature's Problem - "High Rollers" (mp3)
There's a different version of "High Rollers" on The Future, but the Welcome To Baltimore City version is, in my opinion, a little better, and either way it's one of their hottest tracks. The hook sounds kinda silly but the beat is crazy.

Nature's Problem f/ Goose - "In My Blood" (mp3)
I get kind of a 2Pac vibe off this song.

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