Atmosphere is a hip-hop duo from Minnesota consisting of MC Slug and producer Ant. Their brand-new album Mi Vida Local, the follow-up to the brilliant Fishing Blues released two years ago, just got released Friday. With the members transitioning into middle age, the album continues the band’s lyrical focus on the struggles of daily life. The album has 12 tracks and features guest appearances from Cashinova, The Lioness, deM atlaS and the Dynospectrum.
The album begins with “Jerome,” a powerful track with a gloomy psychedelic guitar and even gloomier lyrics, with the guitar driving the music. The next track is “Stopwatch” and is much more upbeat with regard to the lyrics. The first single, “Virgo,” has Slug reflecting on his life and the politics of the United States over a melancholic acoustic guitar and soft keyboards.
The track “Delicate” goes into the mind of a kid lost in his thoughts. It has a smooth, dark vibe to it, and has a beautifully melodic outro. The song “Drown” has guests Cashinova, deM atlaS and The Lioness and is an incredibly depressing song reflecting on middle aged life.
The track “Anymore” talks about deceit in a failing relationship, with Slug repeating “I’m bored, you’re bored, stay together, what for?” The song “Earring” has guest Musab continuing on relationship troubles, talking about cheating women over a soul sample. The track “Trim” is a humorous love tune about not having time to do fun things because of work obligations.
The song “Specificity” is a short and blistering track about life and introspection. The next song, “Mijo,” is a masterpiece, as it is an optimistically easy swinging song over a spacey instrumental, with the lyrics “It’s never too late to get some heaven on earth.”
The song “Randy Mosh,” a play on words of the football legend Randy Moss, contains an extremely exciting Dynospectrum reunion. The Dynospectrum was a collaboration between Atmosphere and I Self Devine, Sab the Artise and Swift. They released an album in the late in 1998 that is very beloved in the hip-hop underground.
The album then finishes with “Graffiti”, which although opens with the ominous words, “I wrote this one when I was still alive,” is a positive and empowering track.
This album is one of Atmosphere’s strongest in recent memory, and the lyrics are by far the highlight of the album. The maturation between Slug and Ant is especially prevalent in the hard-hitting penmanship on most of the tracks.
Like previous Atmosphere albums, Mi Vida Local is influenced by the duo’s home city of Minneapolis, and it is shown in their subtle references to things local.
Musically, the album is rougher than their radio-friendly commercially successful albums. However, it is more polished than their dark and gritty earlier material.
It is very honest and introspective, and it is the most mature album they have written. It is recommended for anyone who is interested in listening to thought-provoking hip-hop.
Parker’s Picks: “Virgo,” “Jerome,” “Graffiti,” “Anymore,” “Mijo”