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Natural, ‘20 Something’

NATURAL

20 SOMETHING

I’m only about halfway through my 20s, but if someone were to describe this period of life as an exercise in balancing one’s expectations of an ideal life with a sense of reality, that would sound about right to me. Natural seems to agree: The rapper’s “20 Something” is an entertaining, engaging album that finds him burning with serious rap ambitions but still enjoying his youth while it lasts.

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“Postcards” sets the tone early, as Nat shows that his perspective goes beyond Boston city limits: Over a chopped-up piano loop, he delivers a breezy travelogue from a European vacation that has flashes of his insightful wit (“Rooftop in Dublin view like ‘God damn’/ you can paint a portrait of an artist this young man,” he quips).

At his best, he lives up to his name; the punch line attack of “Monsters” recalls shades of Esoteric’s conversational flow where every word is clearly enunciated and impactful. Some concepts fall flat (the single “Go to Work” misses its mark) but he’ll have plenty of time to give us more songs that showcase his abilities as a sharp writer, as indicated on the bemused introspection of the title track. After all, he’s only 20-something.

ESSENTIAL “Postcards”

“20 Something” is available free at www.datpiff.com. Natural performs with Dutch ReBelle at Church on Oct. 17, www.churchofboston.com.

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