You Can't Imagine How Much Fun We're Having 

Atmosphere

(Rhymesayers)

Alt-rap Everyman ages eloquently.

Easily indie-rap's most charismatic star, Atmosphere MC Slug is the rare figure in his world to blend introspection and empathy with a head-bobbing flow and welcoming sense of humor.

Slug's playful side is still palpable on this fifth full-length album but perhaps more buried than on 2003's expansive but relatively tortured tour diary, Seven's Travels. That album had Atmosphere straying from hip-hop's basics, but here producer partner Ant crafts a more beatwise, more cohesive palette for Slug's confessional raps.

You Can't Imagine How Much Fun We're Having is also in large part about the life of a touring musician. The album opens with an indie-rap call-to-arms. Slug has always been and remains a compelling voice on hip-hop's scene politics (see Lucy Ford's "Party for the Fight To Write" or the early anthem "Multiples"). But on You Can't Imagine How Much Fun We're Having (the title is deeply sarcastic), he sounds ready to give up the whole thing. "I'm over 30," he confesses. "Cars drive by with the boomin' system/I must be getting old cause the bass sounds ridiculous," he muses. But "I've got at least one more tour in me," he insists.

If the next tour is anything like the last, it might be the last. On "That Night," Ant laces a rattled, eloquently bruising beat over which Slug spins a shocking story of a young fan raped and murdered at a gig in Albuquerque, an event that makes him want to go home and completely start over. And back home is another reason to rethink things: There are a lot of hip-hop songs about having an absentee dad, but the album-closing "Little Man" is the only one I can think of about being one, even if it's really about Slug himself, ending with a sad vision of the touring rapper asleep on a hotel bed: "Looks like a naked fetus/Come and save him Jesus/Place him back in time before the Reaganomics and Adidas." -- Chris Herrington

Grade: A-

Keep the Flyer Free!

Always independent, always free (never a paywall),
the Memphis Flyer is your source for the best in local news and information.

Now we want to expand and enhance our work.
That's why we're asking you to join us as a Frequent Flyer member.

You'll get membership perks (find out more about those here) and help us continue to deliver the independent journalism you've come to expect.


Favorite

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Blogs

Hungry Memphis

Lamplighter Now Serving Lunch

Fly On The Wall Blog

Consultants Plan Monument To Consultants On Memphis Riverfront

Fly On The Wall Blog

Roll Local with Memphis Made Comic, Stoned Ninja

Tiger Blue

Three Thoughts on Tiger Football

News Blog

Metal Museum Eyes Overton Park Expansion

ADVERTISEMENT

More by Chris Herrington

  • Last Words

    In "Enough Said," James Gandolfini makes his last lead film role his best.
    • Sep 26, 2013
  • Masters of Sound

    New albums from two of Memphis’ most distinctive stylists.
    • Sep 19, 2013
  • Hayes Carll at the Hi-Tone

    • Sep 19, 2013
  • More »

Readers also liked…

ADVERTISEMENT
© 1996-2018

Contemporary Media
460 Tennessee Street, 2nd Floor | Memphis, TN 38103
Visit our other sites: Memphis Magazine | Memphis Parent | Inside Memphis Business
Powered by Foundation