Sometimes I just don't get it. Much like the case of should-be superstar, Mark Wonder, there're certain others whom I look at and, when you take into account their career trajectory and overall skill, I have the surest of feelings that they should be much bigger names than they are. Such an individual would definitely be the ultra-talented vocalist, Natty King. Gifted with one of the coolest and strongest voices in the whole of modern Roots Reggae (which is saying a great deal), while the King has certainly made a very nice career for himself and has been afforded the privilege and working with some of the genre's most gifted producers and touching some of its biggest stages as well - I still think he should be more and, perhaps, one of the biggest and most revered of singers today - outside of the most hardcore Reggae fans. Going backwards, also, he's had the big hits as well, which makes it even stranger that he and his amazing gifts have, in some respects, been so woefully overlooked. Today we don't overlook them and instead take a look at the should-be-twice-as-large catalog of one of Roots Reggae's most shining players. Discography: Natty King
|The music of Natty King|
"No Guns To Town" [Insight Records - 2005]
Wake the town. Perhaps a bit microcosmic of its star, Natty King's debut set, "No Guns To Town", in terms of its popularity, hasn't aged very well and one could make the case that it was never really that popular. That's too bad as the album was named after what remains his biggest hit to date, really included some fine additional selections and may still be Natty King's most complete album release eight years later. Other tunes such as 'When The Money Done', 'Environmentalist', 'Easy Officer', 'Cut Down The Price', the significant hit 'Mister Greedy' and others really made the album an enjoyable one from beginning to end, while supporting the MASSIVE title track. Sizzla Kalonji, Trinity [twice] and Earl 'Chinna' Smith all joined the King for the Jimmy Ricks helmed project which deserved, so much, a better fate than it received, although you're very unlikely to find someone who truly tuned it in who was disappointed.
"Trodding" [Tad's Records - 2009/2010]
Flava-ful. It would take four years to materialize and, at the time, I wasn’t even sure that Natty King would ever have an album #2, but it finally did arrive - "Trodding". The sophomore set would link the singer with someone who had, wonderfully, taken a great interest in his abilities at the time, Kemar 'Flava' McGregor and the duo would produce a brand of musical magic together. What it may've lacked in the 'spectacular' (save for its title track, which was just that), "Trodding" was solid throughout and came at a time when its producer could do no absolutely no wrong in my eyes (ears) and I still love most of the riddims on the record. Other standouts included 'Jah Name', 'Highli High', 'Good Vibes' and a tune which I now appreciate more than I ever did in the past, the poignantly delightful 'Weh Dem Love Gone'. "Trodding" is an album which did receive a bit more respect than its predecessor (and was actually re-released on more than one occasion (it actually originated as a digital-only piece in 2009, with the disc coming the following year) and even had a deluxe version) and thankfully it hasn't faded a great deal at all and is probably the most popular of this trio of albums.
"Born To Be Free" [House of Riddim - 2010]
Memories. Although I have, rather comfortably, come to the conclusion that the House of Reggae produced "Born To Be Free" is my third favourite album of Natty King's three album career, it is still a set which I, very much, look back on favourably. That is, specifically, the case because of the presence of two tunes. The first is the album's opener, 'Slu U In The Open' which is very interesting here. Originally, the tune was voiced on the gorgeous iLove Riddim from Rootdown Records (there were two hundred songs on that riddim and most of them were at least pretty good) and THAT version isn't the one on this album. Instead, what was here was an acoustic track and I believe I like the original so much, that even its streamlined alter-ego impressed me. The other song I was really interested in from "Born To Be Free" was, of course, 'Fyah Bed'. That golden bar of music topped an album which was fairly good. Besides the top two, also worth your time are songs such as 'Evil Surround Me', the moving 'Care For Life', 'Buzz Rock Warrior' and the increasingly good 'Don't Be Foolish' ["what dem establish is RUBBISH!"]. Fantan Mojah and Louie Culture featured.