Album: Natty, Man Like I, (Atlantic)

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The Independent Culture

With his acoustic soul-reggae grooves and laidback mien, Natty sounds like he should be on Jack Johnson's Brushfire label, but this talented 24-year-old is a product of north London, his transition from hip-hop hoodie to dreadlocked street philosopher paying big dividends on this engaging debut.

Man Like I charts the highs and lows of young life in the capital, from the high-on-love euphoria of "Stoned On You" and "Bedroom Eyes" to the firebrand appeal of "Revolution" and the new "slave mentality" of gang culture in "Burn Down This Place".

Set to infectious skanks and shuffles blended with Nyabinghi-style hand percussion and twinkly African soukous guitar lines, they offer insights into how "so many young faces are trying to find their places", as he puts it in "Coloured Souls" – a journey prompted in Natty's case by eschewing the videogame and TV-shackled lifestyle of his own generation's "broken souls" and emulating the "fire in their bellies" of his parents' culture. Sharp, smart and sweet, in equal measure.

Pick of the album: 'Coloured Souls', 'Say Bye Bye', 'July', 'Badman', 'Hey Man'