Sunday, November 9, 2014

Viktor Rasiia - The Legend of Natty Bohnz

Hip-hop artist, Viktor Rasiia presents his latest EP The Legend of Natty Bohnz.

The Legend of Natty Bohnz is a captivating EP with a hip-hop sound that harkens back to the 90's with excellent samples in the beats and a lyrical prowess from Viktor Rasiia that never lets up. The EP is a bit of a concept album based around the story of a fictional emcee, Natty Bohz, from days past when "rappers had to rely on their abilities to rap." The intro (produced by Rheezo) is very well executed and really sets the tone for the rest of the EP. I was immediately drawn in by the well written dialogue of what is presumably a teacher informing her students about the legend of Natty Bohnz. This intro is better than nearly any skit I have ever heard on a hip-hop album. The voice actors and the script are excellent. The intro sets the bar pretty high, getting your expectations up for some, well, legendary hip-hop to come. While I fully enjoy 85% of the tracks on this album (more on that later), I feel that the track order garbles the overall message and meaning behind the Legend of Natty Bohnz.

To elaborate, first we hear the "teacher" laud praise on Natty Bohnz and the kids getting upset about rappers obsessions with cars and money, but then we are launched into "Trapped." This is easily my least favorite song on the EP for a couple of reasons. While I don't think this is necessarily a bad track, it just shouldn't be the first full length song we hear on the EP. It's a bit difficult to take the soulful sound of the intro (which is present throughout the rest of the album) and transition into a minimalist, nearly satanic track about "the trap." The chorus is not necessarily very creative and carries a mildly oppressive message. With the repetitive refrain "trapped in the trap," the song touts that Natty Bohnz is going to "take us back to real rap" but for the most part, he just rips on what other emcees are doing poorly. I was not impressed by this song, but if perhaps it had come later on the EP, or at the end, it wouldn't have felt like such a harsh transition.

With that being said,  I can tell you the rest of the EP is exactly what I was hoping for: soulful, down-tempo beats with heavy lyrical content, these tracks are worthy of being called "real rap" or as I might called it classic hip-hop. "Oh My" produced by DTZ the Composer, really sets off the danceable vibe on the track and really gives us the feel of what Natty Bohnz is about "a mixture of new and old" in the best possible way. "Get Right" produced by Nascent continues the excellent choice of samples and laid back, in the cut beats. "A Ghetto Tale" produced by LeuNatic is a seriously tale of as you could imagine, life in the ghetto. The beat once again has a down-tempo, soulful feel with soft string arrangements over subtle drums rolls. It fits the overall sound of the EP together quite well. Another track produced by LeuNatic, "Oh No" solidifies the old-school sound that this EP champions. With the exception of "Trapped" the EP could almost be an homage to 90's hip-hop and classic soul music. Viktor Rasiia as a lyricist has nearly endless endurance in his flows. You can tell that each track is a fully fleshed out composition in that there are hardly any moments where Viktor's verse let up. The combo of Viktor's raps and his producers' taste results in a very successful EP. This one is definitely worth more than a few rotations on your jam box.

Check out Viktor Rasiia on his website at: and on Soundcloud at: