Album of the Week: Atmosphere, 'Mi Vida Local'


Atmosphere, 'Mi Vida Local'
Atmosphere, 'Mi Vida Local' (Rhymesayers Entertainment)
Sean McPherson - Album of the Week: Atmosphere, 'Mi Vida Local'
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Atmosphere, the biggest hip-hop act ever to come out of Minnesota is is done taking their victory lap. After a handful of full-lengths and singles announcing the new genre of "dad-rap" it seemed Atmosphere was going to spend the remainder of their recording sessions polishing their well-deserved trophies and cracking dad jokes. Instead, on their ninth full-length album, Mi Vida Local, Atmosphere has opened their lens but are still developing everything in the same dark room of their South Minneapolis basements.

Recent Atmosphere albums felt like Slug was pushing a highlighter across stories we already knew: I'm a dad, I'm a wildly successful rapper, I still smoke weed, I'm a dad. On this album the subject matter has a measure of the absent-minded, cocky, chaotic and sexually ambitious energy from Slug's most celebrated material. As an additional plus, the production from Ant sounds less cohesive, with synth heavy funk loops sitting next to haunting, drumless ballads. The combined results make for an eerie funk with a relaxed sassiness and comfort that keeps the album unpredictable. Mi Vida Local also lets other members of the extended Rhymesayers family shine on the mic, including a spectacular triple verse from I-Self Devine on Randy Mosh and a smoky emotional hook delivered by Cashinova on Drown.

There's no roadmap for Atmosphere at this point in their career, there's no hip-hop group that's been at this level of commercial success for twenty years. And as Mi Vida Local came across my headphones, I realized that the label of dad-rap might end up being too constricting for where Atmosphere is heading. As the joy and pain of being fathers melds into the joy and pain of being humans, of being producers, of being emcees, the balance on this record feels more natural. Instead of talking about the elephant in the room of being two middle age folks making hip-hop, Slug and Ant are just talking about the rest of the room. The result is a much more diverse album, both sonically and lyrically.

Listen all week to tracks from Atmosphere's new album, Mi Vida Local, your album of the week on the Current.


Atmosphere - Official Site

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