Saturday, April 11, 2009

Sailing the Ocean Orange, part 2

In 2002, Ocean took one more stab at a solo career, this time with the Dutch. "Naturally" came out on Makin' Records/ Amo-Lab (in fact, the catalog number is AL001). When it's not a one-off record label, Amo-Lab is a 2-man crew from the Netherlands consisting of Shy (best known for his membership in the Postmen), who also raps on this, and Precise, who co-produced the track along with someone named Kurt Lawrence.

Well, once again, this is a dope, under-appreciated little gem. The track is cool with bouncy horns and a rumbly bassline. Both Ocean and Shy (whose accent seems as American as anyone's) sound good, kicking concept-free freestyle rhymes. Like the last 12", it's less about clever punchlines (though there's clearly a wit behind Ocean's rhymes), profound poetry or complex, bazillion-syllable rhymes, then just solid flows that blending with the beat.

There's Dirty, Clean and Instrumental versions on the A-side, then a "Long-Dirty" version on the B-side (along with a "Long-Instrumental"). The bulk of the difference just seems to be carrying out a protracted hook at the end, so it's hard to say if one version is really preferable to the other. But if you're feeling the rhythm, it's nice to have a version that lasts a little longer.

I don't know if this is 100% as impressive as the earlier 12", but it's a very worthy follow-up. Shy isn't quite the MC that Ocean is; but he holds up is end more than sufficiently. And if you'd rather hear freestyle/battle-type rhymes compared to the higher concept stuff of the last song, then that'll be another plus for ya. And once again, it's easily obtained for cheap.

Sadly, this was the final release not only from Ocean, but for the label, Makin' Records. As for where Ocean is today, it's hard to say. He doesn't seem to've stayed in the music hustle, but a 2005 interview with Jean Grae at tells us, "I see Ocean often, Aggie[the third member of Natural Resource] once in a while. Everyone is doing well."

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