Atmosphere - The Family Sign Announcement | "Minnesota Nice" (f. Prof, Felipe Cuauhtli & Gene Poole)

I've been dissapointed by the last couple releases from the Twin Cities legends.  Lemons wasn't so bad, it just lacked any sort of sonic diversity, but the only track off To All My Friends, Blood Makes the Blade Holy that I can stand listening to is the title track.  Still, I'm a fool in love that will keep coming back time after time to one of the best underground groups in the history of the genre.  So I'll be one of the first to purchase The Family Sign when it drops on April 12th.  I hold out hope that the album will be a return to the Seven's Travels/You Don't Know How Much Fun We're Having-Slug that we can still see at times on tracks like "C'mon" and this posse cut from the group's recent Minnesota tour, but it seems unlikely to happen.

Sean Daley has grown up.  He's no longer the dysfunctional character that he so candidly displayed on "Little Man," "Godlovesugly," and the rest of his early discography.  He has a stable marriage and family.  He no longer worries about having a steady vocation.  You Don't Know How Much Fun We're Having sold over two hundred thousand copies, an accomplishment that eclipses most mainstream releases.

But fans didn't become enamored with Slug because of his dysfunction.  They kept coming back to him because of his honest depiction of his own life, his clever, self-deprecating lyrics, and relatable story.  It would no longer be honest of him to rap about chasing after girls and leaving his shoes at their apartments after one night stands.  That's just not the person he is anymore.  Whether you like it or not, Sean Daley has matured as a person.  He's found his balance and his music clearly reflects it.  It's not the same music that fans might have fallen for originally, but they have to deal with that.

In this aspect, Daley should follow the lead of another Shawn.  After releasing a slew of classics, from Reasonable Doubt to The Black Album, Jay-Z responded to the absurd pressure to create the same sound, telling fans on "On To The Next One" that if they "want my old shit, buy my old album.  I've always thought the best title for a new Jay album would be Unreasonable.  It's ridiculous to try and constrain an artist to their old sound.  Men approaching their fourties simply are not going to view the same elements as inherently important to their life as their twenty-something-year-old selves.  If you don't like the direction that Atmosphere's music has taken, you don't have to buy it.  It's that simple.  I'll continue to support one of my favorite groups, but I can always go back to their classic material when the desire occurs.

In the meantime, enjoy this recent Atmosphere release, courtesy of Potholes In My Blog.

Atmosphere - "Minnesota Nice" (feat. Prof, Felipe Cuauhtli & Gene Poole)
Previous: Atmosphere - "Yesterday"


  1. You literally know nothing about Minnesota hip hop so stop acting like you do. Atmosphere are not pioneers of the "underground" hip hop genre,in fact there is no genre of hip hop called underground,it's all just hip hop.Stick something you might no about,maybe you should a review a sir mix-a-lot album.Stick to what you know and don't try to rep Minneapolis hip hop.And for your information,the only thing Atmosphere put out themselves was headshot's number 1,you probably don't know what that is,you probably will never own it,so thank God you can't review.The most "underground" Sean Daley ever touched was the Kanser network tape and he only had 1 verse,thats the closest thing to "underground" he will ever be.

  2. I'm not from Minneapolis. You got me. I never claimed to be, nor have I ever claimed to "rep Minneapolis hip hop." This blog isn't about Minneapolis hip hop or Seattle hip hop. Nor is it defined by any particular locale. It's simply about shining light on music that I love, regardless of chart numbers and regardless of its place of origin.

    You are correct in assuming that, being from Seattle, that's where a lot of my musical influences are from, but "sir mix-a-lot?" Seriously? If you're going to attack someone for lack of knowledge about another music scene, you might want to brush up on Seattle hip hop first.

    As far as underground, it's a term I realize is a bit of a blanket statement. I only use it to say that a group isn't mainstream nationally (I just don't see Atmosphere getting constant coverage on MTV and refuse to really compromise their sound in order to sell more records). I mean it as no disrespect. I love Atmosphere, but I also love Jay-Z. I can give you countless examples of both terrific and abysmal mainstream and underground acts. I don't even know why you're attacking me on that point when this post was clearly about artist growth vs. fan expectations.

    I don't know everything about Minnesota hip hop and never claimed to, but I offer the perspective of a fan on a national level who loves a lot of the emcees coming out of the Twin Cities and whose perspective you should be wary to simply pass up. I'm giving shine to good Twin Cities artists, just as I give shine to good Atlanta and New York artists. I inform others nationally of artists that I like. I may miss a few good ones, that's the nature of this business, but I'm always striving to find that next big thing.

    If you would like to make a useful correction or two where you feel I am mistaken, I would much appreciate it. I welcome an intelligent conversation about the genre and love learning more about it and its artists. But, if you don't like the site or my opinions, you are free to choose not to come back.