Words By Patrick M.
Atmosphere’s never been my cup of lemonade (no pun), but I still gotta give them props. Their latest LP When Life Gives You Lemons You Paint That Shit Gold is moving critic’s pens and more importantly, people’s pockets. Listening to the album did not cause me to rethink my previous stance on the group, but the masses’ interest show they’re doing something right. And even my ears can admit there are some very solid tracks worth noting.
“Puppets” has an old school feel, returning sonically to the pre-Kanye days when all a beat needed was a dominant piano loop and simple rhythm section. Lyrically, Slug, Atmosphere’s sole MC, stays old school thematically, but with a twist. Rather than glorify the past, he questions the intentions of those who do so at the expense of the present. The song plays to Slug’s strengths as an MC. He creates vivid characters, (in this song’s case, an old-school head bemoaning) and his rhymes show intelligence and irony. Is it the music that the ol’ G misses or the stardom and the excesses that come with it?
“Guarantees” asks questions as well. But like many of the songs on the album, focuses on the plights of the downtrodden and forgotten. This song is more blues than Hip-Hop, with a wampy guitar taking the place of “Puppets’” piano. This is Slug’s finest performance on the album, a rap version of Bill Clinton’s “I can feel your pain.” The regrets he exposes through the song’s character are his own, and real. To anyone who had dreams deferred, the lyrics hit too close to home:
“These warehouse wages kill the ends introduction man/I shoulda schooled it up when I was younger shoulda stuck to plan/Always had the dreams of being more self-assertive/and my kid’s a teenager now he needs the health insurance so, Break my body, Break break my soul down/Just another zombie walking blindly through your ghost town.”
The message is clear. Just cause it looks shiny on the outside doesn’t mean it isn’t bitter on the inside. Kudos to Atmosphere for calling that out.
Previously Posted — “What Would You Do If”
Vast Aire – The Crush (Prod. by Melodius Monk)
Daddy Yankee – Posse
Immortal Technique – Third World (Prod. Green Lantern)
Papoose – My Girl
Blood Raw Feat. Young Jeezy & Rick Ross – Chevy Boyz
Robin Thicke – Magic
Jedi Mind Tricks – Gun Ballad
Lloyd Banks – Top 5
Jadakiss Feat. Big Lou & Crooked I-From Now Till Then (Remix)