Everyone's girfriends' favorite rapper is back. Slug AKA Sean Daley AKA Seven returns with his groups fourth album, Seven's Travels. Perhaps the most notable, and profitable indie hip hop act out there, Atmosphere is comprised of MC Slug, producer Ant and DJ Mr. Dibbs. Not counting the Sad Clown, Bad Dub series, this marks the fourth time an album of Atmosphere's has headed in a more emo direction. Slug, with his poetic prose has virtually established a new sub genre, emo-rap. After being courted; wined and dined by a slew of big time record execs, the Rhymesayers representing hip hop act decided to take the D.I.Y. route again, and signed on with Epitaph. Epitah, which earlier had signed on prolific spoken word/rapper Sage Francis, allows global distribution for Slug and the gang. The truth of the matter though is that Atmosphere doesn't need a major backing. The group has sweated five years of dense touring, rocking crowds from Los Angeles to New York, and as usual, always back to Minnesota. Establishing a major following, with Slug's surreal and emotionally sung lyrics, Atmosphere‚s attraction to urban girls/women seems to be growing readily.
Produced as usual by Ant, the album maintains the usual feel: abrasive snares, pulsating hats, and chopped bars. People often complain about the simplicity and redundancy of Ant's production, but the public fails to realize Ant's musical genius. Ant produced fellow Rhymesayers spitter, Brother Ali's latest album, Shadows on the Sun where the beats where structured around seventies soul sampling. It's not that Ant is holding back, or limiting his capabilities, but rather pumping out beats which compliment Slug's lyrics and voice. After all, could you possibly imagine Slug versing over Jurassic 5's "What's Golden" instrumental?
is very much so a continuation of God Love's Ugly. In fact, Slug remixes up the wording to the beginning verse from "Ode to the Modern Man's Hustle." The first time she met the devil was at first avenue / Went backstage with him into the dressing room / Sexy ego-trip, taller than expected / About six foot three, seemed to thrive on his misery. / Critical, observant, big words, sweaty hair sunken eyes and thick nerves. / She said ŒI‚ll make him smile for the simple fact that he needs it, I‚ll make him smile just so I can kill it and eat it‚.‰ "Trying to Find a Balance" is an inventive track with lyrical analogies galore; "So now I keep a close eye on my pets, because they make most of their moves off of instinct and sex / It‚s eat, sleep, and self-defense, so straight you can set your clocks and place bets / Wait, let‚s prey on the blind, deaf, dumb, dead, hustle and maybe a couple will love what you said..." "Bird Sings Why the Caged I know" is a song which personifies an escaped bird as a women and a representation of the American Government. "Good Times," is a comical track about dating girls with low self esteem, and "Cats Vans Girls," is a eccentrically produced track with its electric guitar riffs and unsorted beats, yet in my opinion is home of the illest lines dropped by Slug on the album; "...navigating through a basement that masquerades as a nation / Practicing [his] acetate masturbation." The album highlight is a track called "Always Coming Home Back to You,"where Slug narrates the troubles of a young man through a display of wicked lyrical imagery, "The clouds ran away, opened up the sky / And one by one, I watched every constellation die."
Dedicated to a sixteen year old girl Marissa who was sexually assaulted and killed by a theater employee (whom was a previous sex offender) at an Atmosphere show after she tried to get back stage doesn't especially cover any new ground, but Atmosphere is so advanced in the indie circuit that it rarely matters. Loyal Atmosphere fans will adore songs like "Reflections," yet Atmosphere once again produces an album which willdefinitely exponentially increase their groupie lot, and confidently multiply their fan base.