To All My Friends, Blood Makes The Blade Holy: Atmosphere Album Review

Christmas came early this year, courtesy of a fresh little release from everybody’s favorite Minnesotan rap duo, Atmosphere. Sorry, let me revise that. Christmas came early this year courtesy of a monstrous twelve track EP release from Minnesota’s only rap duo, Atmosphere.

There. That’s better.

Once again, the collabo of MC Slug and DJ Ant has put forth their third EP since 2008’s creatively-titled studio album “When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Shit Gold”. This time around, “To All My Friends, Blood Makes The Blade Holy: The Atmosphere EP’s” (or should I call it EEP?) serves up a fine exhibition of what Atmosphere does best: telling stories. Ant’s jiving beats incorporate bluesy guitars and R2D2-esque samples that sets Slug up for his masterful tales and accompanying chant refrains.

Like any good storyteller, Slug’s tales are relevant. “Commodities” addresses the overly dramatic, self-indulgent users of social networking sites. The angry beat goes perfectly with the track’s message as mental images of emo Myspace bathroom pics fill your eyes with contempt. Fortunately, Ant diffuses the situation and prevents enraged listeners from grabbing their pitchforks and torches by sliding in with a happy little piano diddy that belies “The Number None’s” depressing tale of unrequited love.

Not every track shares that magic that makes you want to put it on repeat but that’s ok, there are more than enough tracks on this double EP to hold your interest. Once you find one with that steady bump to nod to, it’s only natural to tune into Slug’s words and extricate his message. Slug is a complex guy and his words follow in the same vein. That twist at the end of “Scalp” is just killer. Educated lyrics showcase his attention to detail and the subtle Grandmaster Flash shoutout on “The Best Day” will earn a smile from hip hop aficionados. Slug’s ability to blend such delicate allusions with universal experiences is the shortest explanation why Atmosphere has stood the test of time.

– Wonderboy