Atmosphere, your girl’s favourite hip-hop group, released their latest ablum, When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Shit Gold, last week.
I’ve had mixed feelings about Atmosphere since I first heard tracks like “Modern Man’s Hustle” and “A Heave And A Ho” (does anyone know where to find this?). On one hand, Ant is a talented beatmaker and Slug is a dope lyricist. On the other hand, however, the common criticism levelled at the Minnesota duo – that they spend too much making introspective “emo rap” – is often true, especially on Lemons. The album is good, overall, but descends for long streches into dreary stories about tragic characters (“she got a condition of the heart, a heart condition” Slug raps on “Dreamer”) and lost love backed by competent but uninspiring beats. It’s like Atmosphere recorded the album on autopilot: recycling the same formula they’ve used for the past decade or so. But check out some of Lemons’ better tracks and decide for yourself:
Atmosphere – Waitress (When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Shit Gold, 2008)
Atmosphere – Puppets (When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Shit Gold, 2008)
Also new is Buckshot & 9th Wonder’s second album The Formula. Although I haven’t listened to it in its entirety, most reviews agree it’s better than their first collaboration, Chemistry, which suffered from lacklustre production and weak rhymes. Fortunately, the two cats appear to have regrouped and produced something worth the combined anticipation their two names generate. Check out “Go All Out,” courtesty of All Up In Your Earhole.
Buckshot & 9th Wonder – Go All Out ft. Carlitta Durand (The Formula, 2008)
I also managed to finally get my hands on J Dilla’s Jay Love Japan. Upon first hearing about this album’s existence I foolishly assumed it would feature Dilla chopping up rare Japanese funk and soul samples (how dope would that be?). Apparently, the album’s title is actually a satirical take on underground rappers who claim they’re huge in Japan or Europe.
Fortunately, my initial disappointment quickly receded after I started listening to Japan, which is chock-full of pure Dilla goodness. If you’re jonesing for those crunchy, distinct Jay Dee drums and brilliantly chopped soul samples layered over sub-woofer destroying bass lines you absolutely need to own this album. In fact, it may even be better than the Ruff Draft EP. Either way, it reminds you how absolutely tragic the Detroit producer’s passing was.
J Dilla – Red Light ft. J*Davey (Jay Love Japan, 2006?)
J Dilla – Lucy ft. Bo Bo Lamb (Jay Love Japan, 2006?)
J Dilla – Say It! ft. Ta’Raach & DJ Exile (Jay Love Japan, 2006?)
Buy Jay Love Japan here.