Atmosphere - Seven's Travels (Cover Artwork)


Seven's Travels (2003)


What the fuck is punk rock anyway? Out of nowhere last year, Epitaph embraced indie-hip-hop like it was the cure to SARS. Not only did they sign a distribution deal with Rhymesayers Entertainment, they also signed whom some have called "the poster boy of emo-rap," Sage Francis. I don't believe in any of the hype surrounding the emo-rap messiahs because of the bullshit label, I believe in the hype surrounding them because they are just too goddamn good to ignore. It seems that the most original and fresh music is coming out of underground hip hop labels, and not the most often considered former pioneers in the punk rock movement labels (ie: Fat Wreck Chords.)

Atmosphere released their debut album on Epitaph/Rhyme Sayers Entertainment last year with "Seven's Travels." Sean Daley (alias Slug) takes the listener through a campfire sitting worth of different life lessons, tour stories, and just plain off the wall drunken tales. The album starts off with where GodLovesUgly left off, not daring to graze much off of the formula that Ant has provided for Slug for a decade. Trying To Find A Balance, the first video and single off the album starts with a fist and ends with a weak finger point. Lines like, "Yeah, I've got some last words, fuck all y'all! Stop writin' raps and go play volleyball!" spoil the song regardless of Slug's delivery.

The album bounces everywhere, from dark depressing lyrics to catchy pop-infused choruses. He has a track with his albino Rhymesayers' colleague Brother Ali which is supported by weak beats from Ant. However, it'd be wrong to say that this album lacks all good. National Disgrace as well as the secret track after Always Coming Back Home To You (Say Shhhh!) are standout performances which seem to brush upon the good old Slug-fucked up pothead from Minnesota just rapping for the hell of it, instead of the Slug that seems to be displayed on the rest of this record (Los Angeles has fucked me up-style-Slug).

There was a time when Slug couldn't be touched by anyone, his rhymes, beats, and style was unheard of and original. It's a shame that while growing so much as an artist; he has left behind the roots and originality that we fell in love with him for. Slug, I think it's time for us to see other people.