Title
Artist
Label
Format
Date

Cool Nuh Black
Natural Black
Vizion Sounds
CD
March 2, 2007

Natural Black Track list
  1. High Grade
  2. Gideon Soldier
  3. Give Love
  4. Heathen
  5. Exalt His Name
  6. Any Means Necessary
  7. Special Love
  8. Never Give Up
  9. Found My Roots
  10. I Love You
  11. Fight Crime
  12. Computer Mar
  13. I've Got Love
  14. Weh Yo Deh Pon
  15. Jah Blessing feat. First Born
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 4/5 Backing : 4/5 Production : 4/5 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 3
Guyanese singjay Natural Black, who achieved his international breakthrough with the hit "Far From Reality" on Donovan Vendetta's "Seasons" riddim and then delivered a strong album of the same name for Greensleeves Records, kicks off 2007 with a new album entitled "Cool Nuh Black".

Born Mortimer 'Duke' Softley, Natural Black spent his youth studying and absorbing the music and culture of Jamaica. He worked on his skills on the mic in dances known locally as yard parties, "a kind of Guyanese dance", where the music was provided by live bands rather than a sound system and he would sing the songs of his two biggest influences: Jamaican kings of the microphone Buju Banton and Terror Fabulous. After a short spell in the army he moved on to welding and then decided that if he really was going to make it as a reggae artist then he had to reach the source.

In early 1995 Natural Black relocated to Kingston, Jamaica and started work immediately for Beres Hammond's Harmony House label, Freddie McGregor's Big Ship organisation and Jack Scorpio's Black Scorpio. The soft spoken, but very determined artist quickly made his mark not only as a singer and deejay but also as a talented and prolific songwriter. During the following years he released a few nice hit singles as well as two full length albums ("World" and "Spiritual Food") and steadily built reputation as one of the brightest hopes for the future of the music in the twenty first century. Ten years after he settled down in Jamaica he has firmly put his name on the reggae map.

The "Cool Nuh Black" album has been recorded for Walter Fraser's Vizion Sounds Records, which is based in Natural Black's home country. In recent years the label has managed to attract the attention of modern roots fans with worthwhile album releases from Luciano, Gregory Isaacs, First Born and King Prof. No doubt this new set of Natural Black will also receive accolades as it is a real good collection of tunes. In these days far too often an artist album is nothing less than a compilation of (hit) tunes gathered (think: licensed) from various producers, which also too often makes it a less consistent whole. Thus it's good that Natural Black has chosen to work with one producer over the course of an album.

From beginning to end there's good reggae music to enjoy. Backed by live played original riddims -- except for the "Irits" riddim which is originally known as "Three Blind Mice" -- Natural Black shows he's a versatile vocalist, who can easily switch from a gruff-voiced singjay style to melodic singing. Outstanding tracks are "Gideon Soldier", "Heathen" the nyahbinghi flavored "Exalt His Name", the wonderful "Any Means Necessary", "Found My Roots", "Computer War" and "Fight Crime". But also the rest of the tracks on this album won't disappoint the listener and are truly worth of hearing. In his songs Natural Black deals with themes like for example the good herb, the most High, cultural roots and love, common issues for any self-respecting conscious artist.

Hopefully this worthy follow-up of the "Far From Reality" set will find its way to all true reggae fans, because Natural Black is an artist who deserves it to be heard.