Atmosphere Seven's Travels
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Sage Francis

Now, let me first start off by saying that I am not the biggest rap fan. I have never been and probably never will be. But my girlfriend picked me up Epitaph's annual compilation of their punk bands called Punk-O-Rama (version 8) and they had a track by Atmosphere on it. It came on and my initial reaction was, "What? Epitaph, one of the largest punk labels, has a rap band?" I would later learn that several major labels courted Atmosphere, including Sony, Warner Brothers, and Universal. But they chose the smaller label Epitaph. Atmosphere has a large underground hip-hop following. And I would imagine an even larger following since they were brought one more step into the mainstream. Not to mention this is rap from the Midwest, not the east coast or west. This is their 4th release, and its called Seven's Travels due to the fact that MC Slug is also known as Seven. And this album shows his feelings on many issues, from personal emotions and experiences to political views. I imagine the Seven's Travels title makes much more sense now.

Again, remember I am not very experienced when it comes to rap. But I love this album for a few reasons. Slug raps very clearly and I was able to understand every word he rapped. And the beats are incredible; you just have a sudden urge to nod your head along with it constantly - yes, the beats are that good. Overall, the album sounds very well produced. You can tell how personal the lyrics are to Slug, and the conflicting ideas his mind has to confront. He is a great storyteller and the great thing about his rhymes is it sounds so effortless. He moves from one subject to another so easily and so smooth that it will amaze you - he really is a tremendous rapper. But, I guess that's why they are among the top in the underground hip-hop scene (talk about an oxymoron.) A few of my favorite songs would be Gotta Lotta Walls and Bird Sings Why The Caged I Know. This brings me to another point, the lyrics and the music meets and matches one another in 70 minutes of perfect harmony.

If you want to see what Atmosphere is all about, I encourage you to check out the song Trying To Find A Balance. I believe this gives you an accurate representation of what I have been trying to express to you about them. The lyrics, the beats, and the effortless storytelling raps of Slug. Whenever I do hear rap that I enjoy, it's usually Indie or underground. That's why it always annoys me that everyone judges rap on the "Bling bling ballers" and whatnot. I guarantee if they gave an album like this a chance they might have a different opinion. I really do like this album and it would probably receive an A if I were a fan of rap. So the bottom line is, if you are a fan of the genre or looking to get into something a little different from the generic rap you hear on the radio, give this a chance. Atmosphere will impress many and I wouldn't be surprise to see them gain popularity one day.

- - missionhockey

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