Album Review | Atmosphere – Overcast!

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I didn’t realize how soon Atmosphere’s next album, Fishing Blues, was coming out—August 12th—so I’m actually kinda freakin’ out right now. I wanted to do an Atmosphere Marathon leading up to that album’s release, so I’m gonna try to review all their albums in the next 15 days. This first album of theirs, Overcast!, was released on August 5th in 1997. The only Atmosphere songs I’ve ever heard were singles from Fishing Blues, as well as a track from one of their Sad Clown Bad Dub tapes. I don’t really know if I’m a fan yet. I enjoyed what I’ve heard, but I don’t think that’s enough to judge whether or not I’ll like the majority of their work. I definitely think Slug is a dope MC tho. Anyway, for those of you who don’t know, Atmosphere is an underground Hip Hop duo consisting of rapper Slug & producer Ant. Oh shit. Apparently there was a third group member for this album named Spawn. I really had no idea about that guy. That’s interesting. He left after this album came out. I don’t know why I’m so surprised right now. I guess I just feel like I should’ve known about that. Anyway, I’m expecting this to be dope. Every track is obviously produced by Ant.

Track 1: 1597

Alright, here we go. I think that’s Slug on the first verse. Okay, this is about to be a fun marathon. “Step within my psychoanalysis / Callouses upon my mind make me strain for my lines / Out I ripped it, squeezed the brain; it made some liquid / Drained it in a cup, and then I sipped it.” This beat is dope as hell. Yes. I love this shit. I love this type of production. Slug is rappin’ his fuckin’ ass off right now. This is awesome. “Comin’ to capture / You’re after laughter while I’m hanging from this rafter / I have to rip this rapture ’cause the cramps in my stomach dismantle / When I tamper with your amplifier.” God damn. That verse was dope af. I don’t know why, but I wasn’t expecting this shit to be this damn good. He fuckin’ killed that shit. “We swarm with the bees and diseases, and even if your deejay was Jesus you could never fuck with these kids.” Spawn’s goin’ in now. Meh. I mean, his verse was still pretty good, but pretty much everything from his flow to his delivery to his voice is a step down from Slug. Also, the song started fading out in the middle of his verse. I mean, it’s not like that’s never happened in a song before, but it felt like he’d barely spit 8 bars before it started fading. It fades really slowly tho, so he still manages to spit a decent amount of lines. I liked his verse. It was nowhere near as good as Slug’s, but it was still good. This is a great song. I was questioning whether I should give this a 4 or a 5, but I REALLY enjoyed this one. I was a little caught off guard by how good it was to be honest. I definitely fuck with this one. This is dope af. 5/5

Track 2: Brief Description

I’ll be right back; I gotta pee real quick. Okay, I’m back. The song’s starting now. This beat’s dope. The scratches on the intro are great. Slug killed the first verse. His flow is really good. He’s basically describing how he got into Hip Hop. It’s always interesting for me to hear about how rappers used to have cyphers at school. Maybe it’s because I go to one of the whitest schools in the country, so I’ve never experienced anything like that. The hook is dope. This dude uses a LOT of words in his rhymes. I mean, that might sound obvious to y’all, but the hook seriously just sounds like a miniature verse. He’s rhymin’ his ass off. The beat from Ant is dope. Slug’s on the second verse too. Jesus Christ. YO. This dude is seriously goin’ the fuck in right now. This is crazy. “I’ll pull shit from the asshole of an angel before I let him hassle and strangle / The love triangle between me the mic and the turntable.” YOOOOO. This is so fuckin’ awesome. The second verse was amazing. What the fuck? Why do I have to pee again? Maybe I have a UTI. Nah. There’s no way. I HAVE been drinking a lot of water today I guess. Damn. Slug killed the last verse too. Spawn is nowhere to be found. That’s not a bad thing to be honest… Slug fucking murdered this whole song. I like this one even more than the previous track. This song is fucking amazing. 5/5

Track 3: Current Status Feat. Beyond

I don’t really know anything about this Beyond guy other than the fact that he’s a co-founder of Rhymesayers Entertainment, and that he currently goes by the name Sab The Artist. Alright, the song’s starting now. This beat is dope af. Sab’s on the first verse. Dog, this is so awesome. The fuckin’ Rap Genius forums keep distracting me tho. Alright. FOCUS. Sab’s verse was dope af. The hook’s cool. Slug’s goin’ in now. This is a very lyrically confrontational track. They’re pretty much just warning other MCs not to fuck with them. “I manage to pity those flavorless with shitty flows / Amped off their camp acting out their favorite videos / Save it; give me those trophies you call balls for my display case / Now walk away and save face.” Slug killed it. Spawn’s completely absent again. He really didn’t seem to be as enthusiastic about this thing as Slug. Anyway, I really fuck with this song. It didn’t blow me away like the other ones, but it’s still dope as hell. I fuck with this one. 4/5

Track 4: Complications

Okay, Spawn’s actually on this one. He’s on the first verse. This beat is dope, and Spawn sounds really good over it. The subject matter isn’t that interesting to me; he’s rapping about some girl whom he broke up with I guess. The first verse was well done tho. The hook with Slug is alright I guess. The second verse was cool. Same goes for the third verse. I don’t know about this one. The subject matter just isn’t something that appeals to me. This kinda shit doesn’t interest me. I think Spawn did a good job with it tho. It’s not a bad song. It’s just not something I’d come back to. It’s alright. 3/5

Track 5: 4:30 AM

This beat is dope. The first verse from Slug was great. Lyrically, this is a lot like Current Status. The hook from Spawn isn’t bad. The second verse was dope. Oh. It just ended. I enjoyed this one, but I don’t really have anything interesting to say. It’s not really that different from any of the other songs. I definitely enjoyed it tho. Slug was still rapping well, and the beat from Ant was nice. This is dope to me. I fuck with this one. 4/5

Track 6: Adjust Feat. Beyond

This beat is dope. The first verse from Slug was great. The hook from Sab is nothing special. I’m not really sure who the second verse was addressed to, but it was dope. It was kinda like the show Intervention in the form of a Rap verse. Damn. That final verse was dope af. “Life: probably the biggest word I’ve ever said / That says a lot ’cause there’s a whole lot of words inside my head / Death almost a quarter deep; still ain’t learned to cope / I struggle to see the horizon while I’m hanging from this rope.” This is another dope song. I fuck with this one. The feature from Sab wasn’t necessary, but that’s not really something that takes away from the quality of the song. 4/5

Track 7: Clay

This beat is dope. Slug killed that first verse. He’s basically saying that he’s an alien, which is why his bars are so crazy. The second verse was dope af. The hook is nothing special, but it gets the job done. The third verse was dope af. Spawn isn’t on this one. So far there’s only been one song where they both spit verses. I think it’d keep things interesting if they both rapped on more of the songs. However, with that being said, this song is fucking awesome. The beat is dope, and Slug was rhymin’ his fuckin’ ass off. I definitely fuck with this one. This is dope af. 5/5

Track 8: @

Oh my fuck. This beat is amazing. Ant put his ASS into this one. Oh… This is just an instrumental track. Fuck. I always hate it when producers leave their best beats as instrumentals. Hmm… Should I rate this? I’m not really as good at talking about production as I should be, so I don’t usually rate instrumental tracks. Yeah, I think I’m gonna leave this one uh… rating… ratingless? I’m not gonna rate it. It’s dope af tho. I really like this beat. This is honestly probably the best beat on the whole album so far.

Track 9: Sound Is Vibration

Huh. This review isn’t taking as long as I thought it would. I guess that’s probably because it’s dope. Uh oh… This beat… It hasn’t dropped yet, but it sounds like it’s gonna be crazy. Slug’s goin’ in on the first verse. “I’ll grind you and your weak crew into beef stew / Serve you with seafood / You can’t cloud my vision ’cause you’re see through.” He killed it. He’s actually trading bars with Spawn on this song. Of course they start rhymin’ with each other right after I mentioned it during one of the previous songs. This shit is awesome. Slug’s killin’ it. Spawn’s actually spittin’ his ass off too. Woah what the fuck? Spawn just said the N word? WHY? What the fuck? Hmmm… Maybe he’s just SUPER light skinned, so he looks white, just like Alex Wiley. Whatever… I’m not gonna get too mad about that. Even if he IS white, it’s not like anyone even knows or remembers who he is. Now if a bigger artist like Lil Dicky started using the N word, then yeah I’d be way more upset. You know what’d be funny? What if Spawn never actually used the N word, and I just wasted my time talking about this? I probably—hopefully—misheard him or something. Anyway, this song is awesome. The beat is great, and both MCs killed it. I definitely fuck with this one. This is dope af. 5/5

Track 10: Multiples

This beat is dope as hell. The sample kinda sounds like something you’d hear in a movie score. The percussion is really hard-hitting too. The first verse from Spawn was dope. The way they did this second verse was really dope. I’m gonna put Spawn’s lyrics in red for this next quote. Slug’s lyrics will be orange. “This goes to those who be supporting at the shows / And this goes to those who’s always working on they flows / And this goes to those who use music intake to escape, finding love and happiness inside a mixtape.” They do the whole second verse like that. It’s awesome. The hook is dope too. Damn. The third verse is even crazier than the second. “Anxiety: That’s my new drug of choice / Society: Where you go when you lose your voice / Rivalry: Stems from the shit your man’s telling me / Don’t lie to me, I know the real definition is jealousy.” They killed this shit. This is one of the dopest songs on the album so far. I definitely fuck with this one. This is dope af. 5/5

Track 11: Scapegoat

This beat is dope. I think this is another solo Slug song. The concept of this song is kinda simplistic, but I think he did it pretty well. He’s just listing a bunch of random things that he blames for society’s problems. “It’s reality / Fuck it; it’s everything but me.” That KRS-One sample that Ant scratched for the hook is awesome. The second verse was cool. I definitely enjoyed this song, but I’m not blown away by it at all. I’m more impressed with Ant on this song than I am with Slug. I like the song tho. This is dope to me. 4/5

Track 12: Ode To The Modern Man (Lightning Blend)

This beat is dope af. Slug’s goin’ in first. “Once I climb the skulls of this MC graveyard I’ll see the sun again / I’ll jump and run again, so come on over / Visit ’cause I got a lot to say / And tell Stress I ain’t mad ’cause I got my way.” His verse was great. The second verse from Spawn was pretty good too. The hook is pretty simplistic, but it’s not really bad. Slug killed the last verse. “FUCK an MC in my city that wants to diss me / If I was to bounce to Atlanta with Shocker y’all would miss me / So kiss me smack dab on the asshole / While you battle I’m with your wife sharing a Newcastle.” This song is awesome. The hook was really simplistic, but the beat was great and Slug & Spawn killed it. This is dope af. 5/5

Track 13: WND

This beat is dope. Oh shit. This first verse is awesome. He’s tellin’ a story about how some guy named Sean tried to confront him ’cause he thought he fucked his girl. “I happen to know your bitch sleeps in until the afternoon / Honestly, my man, you don’t bother me ‘cause everybody bleeds / Now go and ask your seed who his father be.” It sounds like Spawn’s on the hook. It’s not amazing or anything, but I like it. Oh shit. “Now Sean kicked my ass / I ain’t gonna lie, ain’t gonna laugh / It wasn’t fun, but fuck ’em; Ima get my gun.” This is so dope. Huh. The way the story ends kinda sucks… He just remembers that he doesn’t have a gun in the first place, and then it ends. Whatever. I still enjoyed the story aside from that part. Slug did a really good job. This is dope. It would’ve been better if the ending was more exciting, but I still like the song. 4/5

Track 14: Multiples (Reprise)

This beat is dope af. Okay, I just listened to the whole song. It’s less than 2 minutes long. It’s awesome tho. It’s just a single verse from Slug, but the main focus of this track is alliteration. He stresses a different letter on every line. He actually goes through the entire alphabet in order. It’s awesome. “The weasel’s weaknesses was wrecked on a Wednesday / X marks the xenon, be the xenolith on my X-ray / Yesterday you saw me spool my yarn to the youth / Zigzagged through the zone and broke the zodiac like Zeus.” I definitely fuck with this one. It’s dope af. 5/5

Track 15: Caved In

This beat is really dope. Spawn is telling the story of how he found out that his father died. The first verse was great. I fuck with this hook too. Damn. This second verse is dope af. It’s a direct message to his dad. “The hardships, the struggles, the garbage, and the troubles that come with it / Always kept my head lifted / I grip it close to my heart; everything you taught me / My dad, my hero, you have my love for all eternity.

That's sad…

I don’t really have any problems with this track. It’s super sad and depressing. I love this kinda shit. I definitely fuck with this one. This is dope af to me. 5/5

Track 16: Cuando Limpia El Humo

This beat is dope. Slug killed that first verse. “Find the emergency exits ’cause Ima snap a spine to make an example of the skeptics.” This hook with Spawn is actually really fuckin’ dope too. The way they’re kinda tradin’ bars on this second verse is awesome. They killed the third verse too. Goddamn. I guess the title is Spanish for When The Smoke Clears. I don’t really have much to say about this track. It’s just another great song. The beat was dope, and Slug was rappin’ his ass off with a little help from Spawn. I definitely fuck with this one. This is dope af. 5/5

Track 17: The Outernet

This beat is dope af. Slug’s spittin’ more aggressive bars about murdering wack MCs. The first verse was great. He killed the second verse. The third verse is awesome. That verse just feels so… I don’t know… It’s so Hip Hop. That verse is Hip Hop in it’s purest form. “As an MC I run rhymes to distribute the fun times / As a lyricist I promise to heat up your brain like sunshine / As an MC my goal is to make the whole show dope / As a lyricist I wanna spit that shit that you can quote.” He killed this song. I have no problems with this one at all. This is dope af. 5/5

Track 18: Untitled

This was a hidden track on the physical version of the album. This beat is really dope. Spawn’s on the first verse. It was pretty good. Goddamn. Slug fuckin’ killed this second verse. “I grabbed your flask of thoughts to make the planet stop / Stop, understand the understated ’cause it’s unnecessary to undermine the underestimated / Underrated, under one nation of underachievers / Who undercut by fucking under the table under the nose of unbelievers.” This is really dope… Why does the song end so early? It ends after like 3 minutes, but the track itself is 7 minutes and 17 seconds long… Oh shit. There’s another hidden track. It’s a hidden track inside of this hidden track. Oh gawd… “First of all, bitch, I never promised I’d be rich, so fuck you and your wishes / You need to do the dishes.” Wow. I guess there’s a reason they left this as a hidden track… “Yo, don’t you get sassy with me missy because I’ll go upside you quickly.” Wow, this misogyny is really over the top. I’ve seen some people saying that it was intentional and that it’s supposed to be satire of the average misogynist, but… I mean, that’s cool, but this isn’t something I’m comfortable listening to personally. “Act your age and spread your legs.” “Now shut the fuck up and fix me turkey pot pie.” “Quit thinking and pretending that you’re smart.” It’s hard for me to get entertainment from fake abusive relationships. I’m really not feelin’ this second half of the song. I really loved the first part, but I really hate this second part… I guess as a whole this track is just okay. 3/5

Final Thoughts:

This album is fucking great. I really don’t know why I waited so long to check Atmosphere out because I enjoyed the fuck outta this, and as far as I can tell this isn’t even one of their most popular albums. The production from Ant was fantastic, and Slug was spittin’ his motherfuckin’ ass off. Spawn is actually a really good MC too, but I think he’s a noticeable step down from Slug. I enjoyed his verses, but Slug was just more entertaining on pretty much every song. I don’t really know what else to say. This is just a REALLY fuckin’ good album. I know Atmosphere is regarded as one of the best groups in underground Hip Hop, but damn. I STILL kinda feel like Slug is an under appreciated MC because the way that dude was rapping on this album just blew me away. I definitely fuck with this shit. This is a very, very, very, very dope album.

Favorite Song: Multiples

Least Favorite Song: Untitled

Verdict:

89%

80-89

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