Emilio Rojas & DJ Green Lantern - The Natural

DJ Green Lantern has always been very selective about the artists he works with.  From Immortal Technique to Nas to Royce Da 5'9", The Evil Genius has exclusively worked with some of the most highly respected artists in the game.  Enter Brooklyn-via-Rochester, NY emcee Emilio Rojas.  When I saw this tape pop up on the interwebz, I knew I had to check out this artist that I had previously slept on. And I haven't been disappointed (one of the reasons it's been getting fairly heavy rotation on the iPod for the past week).

This mixtape is one of the better mixtapes/albums I've heard this year.  The production is crisp and Rojas' lyrics are comical, at times containing double and triple entendre, finding a great balance between light and serious topics.  Common topics include generational cycles such as seeing his father leave his mother:
I lost my heritage the day I saw my parents split,
Abandonin' their marriage, Daddy sleepin' in the Sheraton
No speaking Spanish anymore 'cuz it's embarrassin',
To carry the tradition of a man who wouldn't carry his.

To him leaving his own family ("Sympathy For the Devil") for another woman.  Through tracks like "Untouched," "Piano Bounce," "Bold & Arrogant," and "I Want It All" we witness Rojas' passion and hunger, and at times need, to rise through the ranks of hip hop elite while tracks such as "Tic Toc" and "Sympathy For the Devil" find him tackling serious social issues.  "Sympathy For the Devil" is a heavy track that features him showing remorse over leaving his family, though this remorse is brought into question by the next track "Only Just Begun" which finds him romancing a woman (a good track, but odd placement on the mixtape).

My only critique of the album is that Rojas doesn't quite dominate every track like artists like J. Cole, perhaps an unfair comparison as J-Dot is perhaps the hungriest emcee in the game today (see "The Beautiful Bliss") but that's what will keep Rojas from being compared in that strata of the game.  Still, The Natural is a very solid mixtape and well-worth the download.  The lyrics are excellent, the production is solid, and nearly every song stands out (I think my favorite has to be "Breaking Me Down" feat. Mateo).  I definitely plan on checking out Recession Proof as soon as I can get around to it.

Peace, Love, & Hip Hop,

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