Jungle Brothers - Done By The Forces Of Nature - Review
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critics' view

The follow-up to their groundbreaking debut, Done By the Forces of Nature is the point where the Jungle Brothers' production catches up to their musical ambition. There's still a ruddy, lo-fi edge to the record, but the samples are more abundant and intricately woven, and there's an altogether fuller sound that gives the group a greater presence. Moreover, the group's non-musical ideas come into greater focus as well. The Native Tongues' Afrocentric philosophy gets a more extensive airing here than on the debut, filling the record with positive consciousness-raising, both cultural ("Acknowledge Your Own History," "Black Woman," "Beyond This World") and spiritual (the title cut, "In Dayz 2 Come"); there are even the occasional lyrical asides concerning good dietary habits. All of this makes Done by the Forces of Nature one of the most intellectual hip-hop albums released up to that point, but as before, the group tempered their cerebral bent with a healthy sense of humor and fun. Thanks to the improved production, the J.Beez are able to take it to the dancefloor better than ever before, and toss in some pure, good-time, booty-shaking grooves in the hits "What U Waitin' For" and "U Make Me Sweat." There's also "Belly Dancin' Dina," a narrative that echoes the playful come-ons of the debut, and proves that progressive thinking and respect for women don't necessarily have to cool the libido. Late in the album, the posse cut "Doin' Our Own Dang" offers the chance to hear most of the Native Tongues — Tribe, De La, and Latifah — dropping rhymes all in one place. Through it all, the J.Beez construct an eclectic musical backdrop borrowed from jazz, early R&B, funk, African music, and more. Even if Straight out the Jungle was the historical landmark, Done by the Forces of Nature feels more realized in many respects, and is arguably the more satisfying listen.

Steve Huey
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