People have always criticized artists for “selling-out” their music to what the majority wants and not sticking to their true roots or beginnings. It’s always a risky maneuver to change one’s style of music, but fortunately for Atmosphere, the duo has created another successful album; it is distinctively different and will have fans begging for more.
After a yearlong hiatus, Atmosphere (comprised of rapper Ant and DJ Slug) has done it again with its latest album, To All My Friends, Blood Makes the Blade Holy, but in a different way. Released on Sept. 6, this album demonstrates how Atmosphere has shown why it is such an influential hip-hop duo and is more than capable of evolving for the better over the years.
The album immediately begins with a different sound, which may be unfamiliar to the typical listener of Atmosphere. The upbeat piano melodies, mixed in with Slug’s hip-hop beats, are now gone and have been replaced with the distortion of the electric guitar and a much more laid back tempo. This different sound to Atmosphere is especially exemplified in “Shotgun” with a heavy bass in the background and distorted electric guitar riffs during the chorus, reeling in listeners and keeping them entertained for the whole song.
The message that Ant and Slug leave their listeners with distinguishes this work from Atmosphere’s previous albums. Prior to this album, a significant amount of Atmosphere’s songs dealt with the relationships that the artists encountered throughout their lives, ranging from parents, friends, girlfriends and even their “relationship” with music.
Atmosphere’s latest work, on the other hand, deal with social problems that many of America’s lower-class citizens encounter each and every day. For instance, “Americareful” deals with the issues that arise within government programs such as abortion clinics and healthcare: “Tommy went to county medical service, that’s where you go when you don’t have insurance. Budget cuts and they overwork the nurses. You can find more lying (lion) than at a circus…”
Atmosphere doesn’t necessarily offer a solution to these issues, but this album does make the listener raise some important questions and forces him or her to be more aware of the problems within America.
Overall, To All My Friends, Blood Makes the Blade Holy offers a refreshing, new aspect to Atmosphere’s already successful career. Although one may not agree with the politics behind the music, the new sounds and powerful messages of this album leads one to wonder what else is in store for this duo.