Admittedly, what had first enticed me to give the Norwich bred MC Natrill’s début EP a listen is the knowledge that the production had been skilfully mastered by some unquestionably undisputed talents. These would include NYC’s experienced beat maker Elbe Kim, the world-renowned Anno Domini, the widely recognised High Focus veteran Leaf Dog as well as the steadily reputable UK based sound engineer Dan Griffiths. Sam Ridgway’s intricate imagery on the album cover only enhanced the feeling that I’d stumbled across something special.
(Oh, and did I forget to mention that it’s been made available for free?)
Familiar to most as a hard-hitting battle rapper, featuring most creditably on the Don’t Flop forums, he has somewhat admirably succeeded in making a strong beginners impression and will certainly leave more of a mark then maybe even he had intended. Although it’s the originality in the overall production that will set And Your Back In The Room apart from the rival MC’s releases, it’s Natrill’s potent lyrical diversity that will ultimately keep you captivated throughout the EP’s entirety. Portraying many anthem-like qualities with a commendably classical UK hip-hop flow, it offers listeners insight into Natrill’s own personal perspectives as well as an understanding into his definitively poignant persona.
In a confidently composed bout of straight-up volatile spitting, Preach is the strong introductory track that any rap artist should aspire to produce and sets high expectations for what’s to follow. Natrill’s experience stemming from battle rapping shines brightly, as his soulfully expressive bars are only complimented by the mystical instrumentation on the beat. In fact, the only thing that would make the track sound better would be a copious amount of c******s. Things take an equally sweet tact in Still, with a bit more correlation with his sometimes forcefully spoken wordplay. It exemplifies his ability to enforce mental imagery upon well-thought and mystic bars. Dreams is up with the harder tracks on the record, accounting for a demeaning chapter of his biographically described character. It offers a vivid self-portrayal of the unnerving voice that’s pulsating through your ear drums.
In all honesty, I wasn’t expecting a track entitled Money to be 4 minutes spent listening to undying praise for the notes and coins, and it turns out I was right:
Money doesn’t turn the earth it makes the earth work / And if you ain’t prepared to work / Well you’re worth dirt / Fuck living in a world where your work’s curved / Where the balance of your banks what’s your word’s worth
Just some of the many bars Natrill spits, furiously denouncing the corporations and the wealthy minority greedily taking a grip on the population. As well as this, he generally voices his negative perspectives regarding the effects of finance. It certainly offers some more potential connotations into his background, and the influences which underlie his words. Making Music is the EP’s end, and Natrill obliges his modesties…
I ain’t here to make a name I’m just making music / I ain’t aiming for a claim I’m just making music / I ain’t here to make a change I ain’t steering for the fame I ain’t here to pave the way / (Nah) I’m just making music
… Over an instrumental which truly rounds up the excellent production that was thoroughly bettered from the cuts done by DJ Sol before the real finale that is the bonus track Drops. As the soft beat slowly trickled out I was left relishing the dreamy state that it had induced.
An exciting taster into the higher standards of UK hip-hop that is yet to be produced over the course of the year, it is also an undeniably impressive EP that seems almost mad to be available on a name your price basis. Gratefully, it validates Natrill’s words and proves that there is truth in his spoken perspectives. And Your Back In The Room see’s Natrill bare his soul, and I’m certain in saying that it will ultimately pay off for him.
The album is available (free) from Natrill’s bandcamp page below – and be sure to also check out his battle rapping that’s featured on Don’t Flop:
Review By Ethan Everton