Artist: The Restless NativesTitle: The Restless Natives: Dedicated To The Victims Of Hurricane KatrinaRating: 3 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Eb Haynes
Hip-Hop heads grab your backpacks and lace up your Timberlands. The Restless Natives (Dragonsbreath) dedication album to Hurricane Katrina victims has alleviated the bounce. This eclectic group of underground, universally unknown indie artists chose to season their music with layered, mellow percussion based grooves. It's obvious from beginning to an all instrumental end, The Restless Natives are committed to ole school sensibilities.
The album is a culmination of 20 varying lyricist affected by the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. However the work is not solely limited to the telling of survival stories. DJ Raj Smoove and Dizzy on "Promise" speak to a father's sincere love for his child. "Never Get Enough" and the hypnotic "Dream" are ballads. Regardless of boasting, mostly about being broke, these indie fawlies (guys) are representing for their fallen city. The first track "Introducing" featuring Nesby Phipps, Truth Universal and Jules produced by DJ Maxmillion, invites listeners to partake in a prized tradition coveted by New Orleans natives-jazz. The song offers a sampling of a jazz set then it morphs into a Roots(esque) tune, laced with lyrical dimension. A welcome attribute lost to more popular songs stemming from the South.
"They say New Orleanians like to drink/That's a lie. Emcee Don Libido the 9th Ward Avenger, spits this ironic verse on "If Memory Serves", a track reminiscent to the Jungle Brothers movement. Don Libido truly stands out on the 14-track jaunt. His verses yield uncompromising truth blended with a drunken burlesque sense of humor. Another noteworthy track is "Alday" produced by a recurring Dick Darby featuring Bi®d of Raw Poetix and MC Roach. This somber Digable Planets style track, speaks to street life and to the almost nonexistent rebuilding of New Orleans.
The album has a few production pitfalls and the rhyming on "Rain or Shine" is substandard. Overall, The Restless Natives deliver a refreshing reprieve from monotonous big-booty, bling bling, at the club, commercial pop-rap. Like the ubiquitous New Orleans gumbo, this compilation album cooks up a bevy of ingredients while maintaining, according to Truth Universal on "Heat", a "grown folks Hip-Hop" flavor.