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Natra - Don't Forget About You

Listening Event Recap

November 11, 2023

Luminous Studios - Dallas, Texas

Natra photographed by Jugg for The ProcessBoard

“Every legend needs a witness” – that was one of the things we heard uttered at Natra’s listening session at Luminous Sound this past Saturday. When you press play on the first track of Natra’s latest album Don’t Forget About You, you quickly understand my man’s sentiments. Recorded, mixed, and mastered entirely by Outbound, Natra came into this project with the intentions to make a statement and maybe remind a couple folks who may have “forgot.”

Before we get into it, first thing we need to do is shout out Natra for inviting us out to his event. This was a very intimate event, so it was an honor to get the opportunity to be in the building.

One thing you’ll find out quickly about us at The ProcessBoard (TPB) is that when it comes to rap, hip-hop, we are biased towards the purists – the ones who embody what it means to “bar up”, story tell, really “talk” and paint the picture. Natra is no exception to that. From the intro to the outro, he wasted no time (or bars) showing you exactly who he is. When it comes to rapping, Natra is one of those MC’s that’s cut from THAT cloth…you know the one.

Natra Photographed by Jugg for The ProcessBoard Attendees photographed by Jugg for The ProcessBoard

Natra starts us off on the intro with Merlot or Cab. Let me start by saying that I’m no wine expert, but after watching a couple YouTube videos by sommelier Andre Hueston Mack, I can tell you confidently that merlot and cabernet are both some EXQUISITE wine varieties and even better when aged correctly. As a vet in this rap game, Natra’s rapping ability and skill has aged like a 2006 bottle of Petrus Pomerol or ’05 Chateau Latour Pauillac (did my Googles). This song is an exquisite introduction to an album that I’d like to describe as an elegant, yet direct declaration by Natra saying “I rap better than you.” That’s instantly followed up by the title track Don’t Forget About You, which doesn’t waste any time getting to the point. “Came down to Texas and settled in Houston.” From Kalamazoo, Michigan, Natra gives you a swift taste of “The Zoo” and what kind of talent that’s represented by the city that made him. He spends the entirety of that track and the following, Made It Through, getting his sh*t off (while still giving game) over some up-tempo masterpieces.

Slowing it down a bit on the next track Motion 2 Me, he moves into a more introspective side. “Hard times touching soft spots still we rise through” – that’s something that more than a few of us can attest to. The same notion emerges on the following track I’m Still Here. The lo-fi drums and melodic sample that’s looped paired with Natra’s storytelling takes you into a mindset of never forgetting what you went through to get to where you at/trying to go.

Natra and Outbound photographed by Jugg for The ProcessBoard

On the record Big Dan II, we’re taken right back to that “I rap better than you” implications that we mentioned earlier. The last couple of tracks had a less intense energy, but that’s not the case on this one. The 808s used instantly reminded me that Natra was on a mission. And he continued that mission on the next track Touch Grass. Produced by Kevofromthelake and Outbound, this one gon have you making the ugly face. Natra told us that Outbound sent the beat over to him around 2:00AM, he heard it, got a lil sleep in, woke up at 6:00AM to start writing and was finished with the song before 7:00AM cause he was so locked in on that beat. Once you hear it, I promise you will understand exactly why that was the case.

Natra photographed by Jugg for The ProcessBoard Kevofromthelake photographed by Jugg for The ProcessBoard

Now one thing I don’t want to get overlooked is the quality of beat selection and elegance you hear on this album. When Even Kill comes on, you instantly start to feel like you’re on a beach in Santorini, late night, smoking a H. Upmann No. 2 paired with a nice Merlot or Cab, wearing the finest Valentino Garavani silk while closing another million-dollar deal – it’s one of them.

After you make that deal it’s time to turn up with GeTcHu, where the crazy 808s make another appearance. I suggest you play this one in the whip or on some exceptional speakers, cause aside from what you hear him talk about, you really feel that beat. So many times we hear a good beat with trash verses or vice versa, but Natra not giving you that. The quality of the lyrics can stand on their own and the beats are just a plus.

Attendees photographed by Jugg for The ProcessBoard

As we head to the end of the album, we get one more record before the outro and that’s Official Soil. We get another track that comes equipped with a beat that makes you feel like the word wealth. In this song Natra proclaims “they up and down, we consistent for 20 summers” just to remind us that not only has he been rapping for a while, but that he’s been rapping better than most of the field for quite a while. You can say he got some tenure in this rap game.

Now for this outro, you gotta approach the listen the way Natra himself says is the best way to enjoy it – gotta start your day with it. Thank God, roll you a joint or 2, get your espresso or some tea, get a good view of the sun rising and let that Someone/Somehow get your mind right for the day. Like every song on the album, there’s so much motivation in the midst of all the storytelling and bars. On the outro we get a 2-for-1 once the beat changes from Someone to Somehow, but the message stays the same. He says he “only came to restore the feeling” on this one and I can say he did exactly that. When you’re an MC cut from the same type of cloth as Natra, restoring the feeling [in hip-hop] almost feels like your duty. Shout out to the ones like Natra who take on this responsibility and follow through.

Natra being embraced photographed by Jugg for The ProcessBoard

As you can see, there was a lot of love in the building for Natra. Most of the people gathered for this event lived those moments with him, so to hear it verbalized and expressed so eloquently made the love being shown to Natra unavoidable. When you listen to this project you feel immersed into a life that’s been constructed by defining odds and perseverance. As he stated, “it could have went several different ways” for him – to be where he is now is a testament to his character and God’s will.

When you first hit play on Don’t Forget About You, be mindful of the synesthesia taking place that your ears are producing for your eyes to visualize and your soul to observe. And after all of that, make sure you Don’t Forget About You.

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