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)
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