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Southsiders (Deluxe Version)

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Album Review

Eight albums in and Minnesota's indie rap act Atmosphere are as angsty as ever, but on the great Southsiders, MC Slug and producer Ant fight hard against the dreck and depression of everyday life as they take a mature stance and muddle through it all with style and a sense of purpose. Think of a Macklemore without the Black Eyed Peas-sized pop moves and the brilliance of singsongy and snide tracks like "Bitter" ("Everything used to be so good then/Now it seems you're mad at my footprints") is at hand, while "Kanye West" lives up to its bold title with a combination of claustrophobia (Ant's production features a Yeezus-worthy, suffocating guitar crunch), a crooked chorus ("Put your hands in the air like you really do care"), and a new manifesto ("If we gonna struggle, I'm a gonna do it comfortably/And live life like I like to breathe"). Put a '40s-influenced beat under "Mrs. Interpret" and Slug's off to the Cotton Club with "It ain't no misbehavin' to tell you you're the taste that I've been cravin'," and even if "The World Might Not Live Through the Night" sounds like an apocalyptic bit of dour, the MC interpolates the wild choices of Wu-Tang ("Leaning against the same crutches/Like a new game plan ain't nuthin' to f**k with") and Musical Youth ("Pass the judgment pon the left-hand side"), and suddenly the end times seem funky and fun. It's not all cheekiness and light as the moving "Flicker" deals with the death of rapper and friend Eyedea with poignancy and pride, but even on this superior cut, the veteran group pulls on the strength of its past and drops a couple clown references so the insiders feel rewarded. The spark and hunger of early efforts like God Love Ugly still offer the biggest thrill for newcomers, but since growth and groundation are skillfully balanced on Southsiders, this is arguably the most deep and different album in the band's discography. It's also the best argument that the "mopey" duo is much, much more. [Southsiders was also released on LP.]

Customer Reviews

A consistently high quality album!

After pre-purchasing and receiving the songs Kayne West and Bitter, i was extremely worried for this album. Whilst they weren't bad songs, they certaintly weren't what i was hoping for/expecting from Atmosphere, especially after the matured album Family Signs.
However, my worries were soon laid to rest. The album is fantastic, consistently high quality, without any money waster skits or overly long introductions that just ruin the experience. You'll probably still find one or two songs that take some time to appreciate, i personally can't stand Star Shaped Heart (and i'm really trying) but songs like Flicker just stand out as exemplary examples of a wonderfully matured Slug. The whole album feels like a solid build on from the Family Sign and When Life gives you Lemons to present a wonderful example of Hip Hop at its best.

Put simply, if you like Atmosphere then i doubt you'll be disappointed.

Excellent

Great return from Slug and Ant. Very personal album which perhaps doesn't quite hit the heights of 'sevens travels' but nonetheless beats most other recent hip-hop releases in terms of sheer depth of quality. Looking forward to seeing them live again when they come over here.

Biography

Formed: 1996 in Minneapolis, MN

Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

A hip-hop group from Minneapolis, Atmosphere centers around rapper Slug (aka Sean Daley). The son of a black father and a white mother who divorced when he was a teenager, Slug became entranced with hip-hop, graffiti, and breakdancing, and formed the Rhymesayers collective (originally known as Headshots) with two high-school friends -- Siddiq Ali (Stress) and Derek Turner (Spawn). After some early gigs as Urban Atmosphere, where Slug DJ'ed behind Spawn's rhyming, the pair hooked up with producer...
Full bio
Southsiders (Deluxe Version), Atmosphere
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