NatStar – The Dre^mer
In an era full of music flooding the internet it is hard for an artist to stay in his/her own lane and deliver innovative music. I was asked today “Who is NatStar?” This is a great question because I can see how his versatility can appear to be a weakness, but I believe this is his strength. This strength will be noticed after you finish track 18 (or track 15 if you only buy the standard edition aka go buy the DELUXE). Chris Stowe aka NatStar delivers with gritty lyrics, inspirational tracks, music for the women (smooth vocals) all over top notch production by him.
You know those intros like Common’s “BE”… Well this is equivalent to that. This track sets the tone for the entire album with a Biggie adlib “It was all a dream”. Chris gets personal with his life on this one and explains the feeling of struggle while you are chasing your dreams. “Always feels like forever yet days away or weeks or months I don’t even know, nights I’m like what the fck if I even blow, but like a eagle I sow, spread my wings going after that green, holding on to that dream”.
“Ready to be the best in the game, 23”. No hook, all quotable bars over the famous Allen Parsons track.
3. Be Successful Speech – Eric Thomas
I like this choice for an interlude, perfect for the album’s theme.
“When you want to succeed as bad as you want to breathe then you’ll be successful”
4. On Fire
NatStar explains he is going to be phenominal whether you join him on the journey or not & he is going to set this joint on fire. “Hell hath no fury I’m eclipsing this game I shine purely, Only God can judge me, I’m killin’ shit, fuck the jury, wheeling shit in the dark…my prescense is illuminating my path straight, my future is that great.”
This track’s production is also a stand out.
As soon as this knocks you get that Houston feeling. This is for the club! He hits you with some braggadocious lines like “That H under my belly button, Unbuckle game time EA, Then I give her that D now we play”.
6. Ball Don’t Lie
Chris shows off his versatility on this with rapping, singing & producing all coming together for a laid-back hit. The lyrics are braggadocious and somewhat dumbed down on this one. Props for naming a song after Rasheed Wallace’s signature phrase.
7. What More
Very reminiscing of “Versus” by Jay-Z. You can catch Chris getting personal again on this one asking “What More Can I Say” to you labels to have you catch glimpse of my shining.
8. Cold War ft. Frank Ramz
Want New York? Want Bars? You got it with this one.
Frank Ramz opens up with…
“I ain’t in the best condition… closer to the worst position,this liquors working on my organs like a church musician. My first decision ain’t involve alcohol, but I heard its good for sanitizing cuts after falls…& i fell bad.”
then NatStar follows up perfectly…the rest is history!
9. Smile Sarah
If you’ve heard Chris’s “Mama” or “Die Slow”…expect that emotion to carry over to “Smile Sarah”. He speaks on his Mom dying in his youth and his father recently joining her in heaven.
Production at it’s finest. This track explains NatStar’s versatility to a T. What I like best about this track is he doesn’t let the smooth production out shine his lyrics and flow. This track should put you back in the 90s.
11. Outta Town
Great storytelling on this one. I don’t want to ruin the secret of this track, so I won’t share much. Just listen til the end!
12. Put it in a Book
At first this song would come off as he is speaking to his own race the whole time, but listen closely…everyone could learn a little something from this one. He shows off the vocals on this track too.
Song for the ladies. Get ya grown man on to this track.
14. Tell Me
Back to back songs for the ladies…I like this one much better than the last. It’s slower than ballroom so it compliments the last track well.
15. Think Like A King ft. Big Remo
“If you ain’t playin’ to win then you ballin’ for nothin’.”
Second feature on the album comes from fellow Carolinian Big Remo. These two should work together again.
“So ask yourself are you ballin’ like Kobe or Kwame?”
BONUS TRACKS (DELUXE EDITION)
16. Choose To Believe ft. Gosia
Starring Polish super-star, these two put together one of my favorite tracks this year! A great motivation track.
17. Been Dreamin’
Very braggadocios, but full of great one-liners. If you remember Blue Skyy/Dreamin’…he picks up where he left off!
18. 40 Acres
Picking up where he left off on “Put it in a book”, but a little more mellow.
Overall Rating – 4.4/5