Atmosphere - "Always Coming Back Home To You" X "Yesterday" X "Trying To Find A Balance"

Call him emo.  Call him abnormal when it comes to the prototypical rapper.  Call him an outcast in the world of hip hop.  But whatever you call him, you can't fail to notice that Sean Daley (aka Slug of Atmosphere) is one of the best storytellers the game has ever witnessed.  Slug along with DJ/producer Ant form the highly respected underground duo and have been doing their thing in various forms since 1993 (though they've been going solid as the duo since around 2000).  The duo was also the leader (followed shortly by Brother Ali) in the explosion of the Twin Cities hip hop scene and are the founders of the highly respected indie Rhymesayers label.

Slug is one of my favorite emcees because it is impossible to deny his power as an intricate, honest storyteller.  He weaves tales about what he knows, whether it be his hometown ("Always Coming Back Home To You" which I hold to be the best Atmosphere song), loss ("Yesterday" I won't talk about this song because it is important for the listener to hear it for his/herself the first time through), his own failed relationships ("Don't Fucking Question That"), he even has a couple battle raps ("Trying To Find A Balance," "The Arrival").  On all of Slugs songs, even the ones not directly about him, he is very honest and though his songs you gain a better understanding of what he's about.  I especially like the track "Little Man" where he takes a look at his relationship with his son and his father before directing the introspective light towards himself and his own insecurities.  Slug isn't boastful, he's a flawed human being, but, to quote him, "GodLovesUgly."

When I think of Atmosphere, I think of them in much the same way that I think of Jay-Z or Nas, not in terms of individual songs (see "Shook Ones" for Mobb Deep), but in terms of entire albums.  Seven's Travels and You Can't Imagine How Much Fun We're Having are two of my favorite albums and I can bump them all day.  I didn't care for their latest LP When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Shit Gold, not because the individual songs weren't good, but because they all sound the same (something I can't deal with when listening to an album all the way through).  Still, there were three standout tracks on the album ("Yesterday," "Guarantees," & "In Her Music Box") that help rectify the album as a whole.

I've included three of my favorite Atmosphere tracks from their vast discography and hope you enjoy them.  As always, I appreciate feedback on my musical choice/writing (one of the main reasons I'm doing this for you people).

Peace, Love, & Emo Rap?

"Always Coming Back Home To You"


"Trying To Find A Balance"

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