It’s not that Native Sun didn’t already have a tight formation of live rhythm and blended samples on 2012 debut Step Into the Light. But their new EP Undeniable hews closely to its name and showcases an even deeper maturity. Bassist Brandon Meeks and drummer Richard “Sleepy” Floyd craft a funky ballast for emcee Bobby Young’s assured rapping, with samples seamlessly embedded. It sounds and feels like a million-dollar production, with all credits to Native Sun with the majority of mixing and mastering by Mr. Kinetik.
Moods swing from the quixotic, life-affirming “The House” to the layered major-key hip-hop swing of “Burden of Proof.” In between are the other-dimensional cocktail “I Get Around,” the swirling soul of “Make it With Me” (courtesy of guest vocalist Kiana Bonds) and the vintage keys and cracking drums promoting Young’s assured, conversational flow on “Livin the Life.”
Native Sun have been working together since 2006. They may have taken their time on initially releasing music, but with Undeniable they’re staking a claim as one of the city’s most progressive-sounding acts. And yet it feels like they’re still just warming up.