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Longevity is a rare for hip-hop artists, since audiences place a priority on new sounds. It's difficult for veteran acts to continue to cultivate new sounds, and many have fallen by the wayside as they've tried to keep up with the times -- but not Naughty By Nature. They've never really changed their core sound, which is an alluring fusion of hardcore sentiments, pop hooks, and funky rhythms. But by not changing, they've managed to retain an audience, since they're reliable -- each Naughty By Nature record sounds essentially the same, but it's a satisfying sound that balances catchy hooks and clever, literate rhymes. Few artists are ever able to establish a track record like that, and it's amazing that 19 Naughty Nine: Nature's Fury -- the group's fourth album and first for Arista Records -- maintains the high quality. True, some listeners may wish NBN tried out different sounds and styles, but for the most part, the album delivers what any fan of the group could want: several killer party jams, a couple of slow numbers, and a handful of amiable filler. Nothing stands out as an outright classic in the vein of "O.P.P." or "Hip Hop Hooray," but there's genuine grit to the rhythms and rhymes and the music remains accessible and catchy -- in short, the best of Nature's Fury proves that it's possible to be melodic and hardcore at the same time, to have both hooks and substance. It might not break new ground, but the album proves that Vinnie and Treach have developed their own signature sound and have found ways to keep it fresh and exciting nearly a decade into their career.
Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
|2||Ring the Alarm||3:57|
|3||Dirt All by My Lonely||3:14|
|5||Live or Die||3:41|
|6||On the Run||3:21|
|9||Would've Done the Same for Me||4:18|
|10||Thugs & Hustlers||3:28|
|12||We Could Do It||4:48|
|15||Live Then Lay||4:01|
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