Subtropical Spin

My Story (Pure Records/Sony Red)

Rising star Na'sha (Natasha Watkins) took over South Florida radio last fall when her DJ Khaled-produced "Turn It Up" became a favorite with local choreographers. Since then, the Ohio native and Ft. Lauderdale resident has signed to a local Sony subsidiary and become one of Shaggy's primary collaborators. She trekked with him near and far as the opening act on his last world tour and recently recorded her debut with him and a bevy of heavy-hitting producers like Cool & Dre, Scott Storch, Tony Kelly, and James Poyser.

Released this week, My Storyis a collection of tales of self-discovery born of romantic mishaps and flirtatious fun. The 22-year-old's nice-girl persona is the perfect foil to Shaggy's lyrical shenanigans in the teasing "What U waiting 4," their chemistry reminiscent of R. Kelly and Aaliyah's early alliance, with Shaggy doing double-duty on the mic and behind the decks. "Fire," the album's bombastic first single, was produced by Shaggy as well and will likely be a dance-floor favorite with its futuristic, counterpointing bleeps and spaced-out simulation of a dancehall-styled marching band.

Thematically, this Story is full of contrasts: On the one hand, Na'sha comes off as a straight-laced prude, telling oversexed playas where to get off in the Scott Storch scorcher "Get to Go Home" and staying faithful to a distant lover in "Distance." Yet she also shows her vulnerable side in succumbing to the occasional booty call ("Baby Luv") and singing the blues when a lover lets her down ("Mama"). But it's the backstory of hope and inspiration woven throughout her self-penned drama that truly shines. "Just when life seems to be done," her bright soprano promises in the title track, "here comes the sun."

 
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