Three years ago Queen Latifah tore the rap world apart, slapping macho rappers in the mouth with her fast and furious feminist rhymes, hitting them below the belt with groove-heavy rhythms and hard street beats. She spiced up hip-hop with a fierce house-music tempo, infused rap with Jamaican-style chanting and toasting, and never sounded contrived. Now an established club and recording artist at 21, Latifah is staking out new ground. Nature of a Sista’ bounces with the Queen’s usual dose of feisty, fresh rhymes, but it also shows her softer, more feminine side. She still keeps the brothers in check (”Latifah’s Had It Up to Here” and the album’s first single, ”Fly Girl”), but she’s toned down the sass and become more sensual and sophisticated. Here’s one woman who rejects sexism, but not sex. There’s more to Latifah than just gender politics; she purrs on some of the album’s slower tracks, then picks up the tempo on the ragamuffin-style ”Sexy Fancy,” which shows that Queen Latifah can be hard-line and playful at the same time. There’s something else special in the nature of this deep and resonant sista’: class. A
Nature of a Sista'