Well, we’re only a couple of days away from, what is for me, the most anticipated album release of the entire YEARRRR. April 12th will see the release of hip-hop group Atmosphere’s newest album, The Family Sign. Comprised of rapper Slug, and beat maker/DJ Ant, Atmosphere has been making amazing music since the early ’90s.
To be honest, I don’t think it gets any better as far as rap music and hip-hop goes than Atmosphere. With a discography comprised of thousands of songs, this group has been around the block and is a solid veteran in the rap game. Family Sign is their first release since last year’s EP To All My Friends, Blood Makes the Blade Holy. To All My Friends was an extremely personal album which compounded on their previous studio release When God Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Shit Gold in 2008.
From what I’ve heard so far of this latest release, Family Sign seems to pick up where the last two releases left off, as the lyrics and content seem to be so personal, alluding to members of Slug’s life, while at the same time appealing to the masses as he rhymes about everybody’s ills- love, heartbreak, family trouble, alienation, loss, pain and struggle. Check out a recent tweet from @atmosphere, which I think exemplifies the insecurity in Slug’s lyrics that make it so personal yet, still supremely effective:
Family Sign also continues to present a very blues-laden sound that makes me think Ant has left his turntable and 808’s in the trunk in favor of a bass, guitar and live drummer. I’m okay with that, as the majority of hip-hop has seen electronica play a major part in beat-making, with auto-tune and synthesizing becoming the norm. And for what Slug usually brings forth in his lyrics, no better musical genre coincides better than the blues do. Go out and buy this album. I promise, no matter what you’re in to, what type of genre you like, you will enjoy it. The album contains 6 songs that are 100% without explicit material, and I feel like that’s proof enough that this isn’t the typical rap album. Slug doesn’t throw in any “Bitches or hoes” just because, each word is perfectly chosen and plays a part in a highly poetic presentation.
And, while you’re at it, go see ’em in concert. The Family Sign tour may be coming to a venue near you. Don’t do what I did, and not go see them when they’re in your backyard (New Haven, CT), thinking that they’ll be there again next year (haven’t been back to CT in 3 years). Currently standing at #1 on my life-time bucket list: see a live Atmosphere show.
Here’s their current single from the album. Notice the group’s humor, using a dog as the main character, yet listen to the lyrics, as the video is in amazing harmony with the words, and just thinking of a human in place of the dog really hits home as we envision a loved one, scorned:
“Just For Show”
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