A lot of hip hop heads question whether New York can ever reclaim the rap game. It seems as though Lil' Jon and his gold grill wearing comrades are the ones running rap. With the dirty south keeping hip hop “crunk” for the moment, the question “Who is the King of New York?” is still in up the air. Jigga is sort of retired, Nas is still reaching for "Illmatic" status, and Ja Rule seems to be getting more attention for his dilemmas with The Inc. Ironically, Fat Joe is the only one repping NY hard. However, "Loyalty" was a flop and the summer’s gutter anthem, "Lean Back," could not help "True Story"’s record sales.
“Things of that Nature” proves that Joe can still ride with the best of them. This album proves that the Terror Squad’s best chance for rap supremacy didn’t die with the late Big Pun.
While “Mr. Cook Coke Crack” never lacked confidence, his flow rarely matched his boasts. However, his flow seems to improve with whatever beats are thrown his way. The track “Here’s A Little Story” has an old school touch. Cool and Dre’s spacey xylophone hits and synths are accompanied by some of Joe’s witty remarks. You can hear some of Joe’s stings on the Timbaland produced “ Get Up”. “Aint gotta be a celebrity to get with me/ Shit, I f*ck bitches worse than Heather B.”
What makes the CD are the nice beats. Previous albums like "Don Cartagena" and "J.O.S.E." had simplistic beats. "...Nature" is more consistent, by relying on TS affiliated producers like Cool and Dre and DJ Khaled. The dramatic beats that both producers provide go well with the ominous tracks like “Victim” and “Temptations Part 1”. Just Blaze manages to bring out another “Breathe”-like hit with “Safe to Stay” creating an ominous atmosphere to with Joe’s bold statements, like the one claiming he is “the sound of New York”.
"Things Of That Nature" does disappoint when it tries to get another club hit. “Get it Popping” sounds like the leftovers of “Lean Back.” Nelly and Joe lack chemistry on this track, making it sound like they're trying to hard. This mistake does not overshadow Joe’s talent.
Over the years, Fat Joe has proved to be consistent, changing his style with the times. He once again manages to bring some shine back to NY, where it once was.