Album Review | Atmosphere – The Family Sign

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This album was released on April 12 in 2011. I’ve read that this album contains some of Slug’s most personal lyrics, but aside from that I don’t really know what to expect. Actually, that’s not true. I just lied to you guys. I obviously know what to expect since I’ve listened to every single album that they released prior to this one. I’m assuming it’s a good album. I’m sure it’ll have that softer, less aggressive sound that When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Shit Gold & To All My Friends, Blood Makes The Blade Holy had. I’m not gonna try to think too much. I’m just gonna go ahead and start this shit.

Track 1: My Key

This beat is really dope. It doesn’t even feel right to call it a “beat” tho. It sounds more like some kinda Indie Rock instrumental or something. You’ll have to forgive me if that comparison was bullshit because I know nothing about Indie Rock. This is what I think Indie Rock sounds like I guess. It’s dope af. That’s all you need to know. It sounds really good, despite the heavy guitar presence. Thank God it’s not an electric guitar. I’m pretty much half way through the song, and Slug still hasn’t started rhyming yet… Maybe this is just an instrumental intro or something. Oh. Nope, I was wrong. He’s goin’ in now. That verse was great. “Close your eyes and crack a smile if you know me / While I spit into the sky ’cause I miss the little homie.” MAYBE HE’S TALKING ABOUT SPAWN. Nah, I’m just kidding. This song is obviously about Eyedea. He passed away the year before this album came out. The title of this song is a homophone for Eyedea’s name, Mikey. Anyway, I think this is a really good song. I still prefer the older style that Atmosphere had, but I’ll definitely be able to enjoy this album if every song is as well done as this. This is dope af to me. 5/5

Track 2: The Last To Say

This beat is actually pretty dope. Man. I’m kinda surprised that I’m enjoying this production as much as I am. This is far better than what was on the last album. Slug’s goin’ in about domestic violence. “He was always safe from dad’s rage / ‘Cause mama sacrificed in his place / Two dozen years of the blood, sweat, tears / Avoid the mirror; losing her hair from the fear.” Jesus. This is REALLY sad. The first verse was great. The hook is really good too. “Let me be the last to say ‘Please don’t stay.

That's sad…

This is a really heavy song. I think Slug did a great job with the verses, and I enjoyed the production from Ant too. This is dope. I fuck with this. The music video was cool I guess. I just wish the acting looked a little more natural… The comments are really fucked up. I saw a comment from a woman talking about how her ex-husband kicked her in the stomach while she was pregnant with his son. Pretty dark stuff. I wonder if the whole album will be as heavy as this. 4/5

Track 3: Became

This beat is really dope. Slug’s rapping about… camping? “It’s no surprise I overslept / Put my boots on and climbed out my tent / I didn’t see you; assumed you were sleeping / Immediately start a fire cause it’s freezing.” That’s kind of a weird thing to rap about, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t intrigued. There’s no way he’d put a regular, boring story about camping on his album. I’m definitely interested to see where he’s going with this. Damn. I just listened to the whole song. His camping buddy wandered into the forest and got ate by wolves. Lmao. Sorry, I shouldn’t be laughing. It’s supposed to be serious. This whole song is apparently an extended metaphor for something. I’m not exactly sure what it means tho… Whatever; that doesn’t really matter. I definitely fuck with this song tho. I actually REALLY fuck with the production on this album so far. This song in particular thankfully incorporated more piano than guitar. I think the biggest reason that I’m enjoying the production more is because it still has that softer sound that When Life Gives You Lemons & To All My Friends had, but it’s way darker. I fuck with this song. This is dope af. The music video is nothing special. 5/5

Track 4: Just For Show

Just For Show

This beat is alright. The first verse was cool I guess. I’m not feelin’ the hook. The subject matter isn’t really for me. This sounds kinda Pop-ish… The second verse was decent. The song’s basically about a passive aggressive relationship with some girl. Not my cup of tea. I’m actually really not feelin’ this… It’s not the wackest song I’ve ever heard, but I just really don’t like this… This is wack to me. 2/5

Track 5: She’s Enough

She's Enough.png

Damn. I was listening to Dots & Lines by Lupe Fiasco before this song started, and the transition sounded really good. I cut out the banjo solos tho… Anyway, this beat is wack. I think that’s an electric guitar; I’m not feelin’ it. It could definitely be worse tho. You can probably guess what this song is about from the title, and you hopefully know by now that I don’t really like love songs, so this one isn’t for me. “She’s my lady case closed / She want a baby, so I gave her one of those / Belly getting big; look at the tits grow / She want a song so I wrote one and it goes…” Yeah, I don’t even know what else to say. I don’t think he did a bad job with the subject matter, but the subject matter itself just isn’t appealing to me at all. I’m not feelin’ this. This is wack to me. 2/5

Track 6: Bad Bad Daddy

I’m really hoping that he gets back to that darker sound that the album started with. The previous track was way too light for me. I’m pretty goddamn bored right now. This beat is alright. The way Slug is saying “I’m a bad bad daddy” is making me cringe pretty damn hard. This might be kind of a weird comparison, but this song has the same concept as All My Children by Gucci Mane, except Slug doesn’t really like his kids, and he does a much better job with the metaphor. Fuck man… I like the verse and the structure of this song, but I’m not feelin’ the hook or the beat… Eh… I guess it’s decent. 3/5

Track 7: Millennium Dodo

Wow. I’m actually really enjoying this one. It kinda sounds more like the shit they used to put out before 2008. I fuck with this beat. I feel like Slug’s flow is WAAAY more simplistic than it used to be. This song is just one long verse. It’s dope. I’m more impressed with Ant’s work on this track than Slug’s, but he still did a pretty good job. This is dope to me. 4/5

Track 8: Who I’ll Never Be

I’ve listened to about a minute of the song so far, and I don’t really know what to think. It’s a very well produced track objectively, but the beat just isn’t for me. I really like the lyrics tho. I don’t usually like love songs, but this is kinda sad. Slug just sounds really desperate. Not in a pathetic way tho. It’s kinda weird how much I like this. I hate love songs, but this is just really well written and endearing. It’s not the kinda thing that I can really enjoy sonically tho. I like the lyrics, but as a complete song this just doesn’t really do it for me. I wish I liked it more than I actually do. It’s okay. 3/5

Track 9: I Don’t Need Brighter Days

Okay, this album started out really good, but now I’m starting to get worried… Hopefully things start to pick up soon. Wow. I just found out that God-awful is hyphenated. I’m not really feelin’ this beat. This song only has one verse. It wasn’t a bad verse, but… Again, this song just isn’t really doin’ much for me. So far I don’t know if I’d describe any of the instrumentals as Hip Hop beats. This whole album sounds like Slug rapping over instrumentals from Indie Rock or Alternative Rock or whatever the fuck kinda Rock Music it would be considered. I’m not feelin’ the production. I wasn’t feelin’ the hook. This just isn’t very good to me. I’m not really feelin’ it. 2/5

Track 10: Ain’t Nobody

Nooooo… Ugh… I’m not feelin’ this beat. I’m not feelin’ Slug’s melodic delivery on this first verse. Uuuuuuuhhh. I’m so bored. Nah. No. I’m goin’ to sleep after this song. I’ll finish this in the morning. The hook is cool. That’s pretty much the only thing I like about this song tho. I didn’t like the production, and I didn’t really like any of the verses that much. This just isn’t a very interesting song. I’m really bored. This track is very underwhelming to me. I’m not really feelin’ it. 2/5

Track 11: Your Name Here

Ah fuck it. I’ll just keep going. I’ll probably go to sleep after I finish two or three more songs. I’m actually kinda fuckin’ with this beat. This first verse seems pretty cool so far. It sounds like Slug’s having a conversation with someone he hasn’t seen in a while. Or maybe he’s rapping from the perspective of someone who hasn’t seen him in a while. It sounds like one of his old friends who’s jealous of his success or something. Everything he’s saying just sounds really sarcastic. Hmm… Maybe he’s rapping from the perspective of SPAWN!!! Nah I’m just playin’. Well, I actually enjoyed this song. I wasn’t in love with the outro, but it definitely doesn’t ruin the song. This is actually dope to me. 4/5

Track 12: If You Can Save Me Now

Uuuugh. Slug’s flow is just so boring and simplistic on this album… This beat isn’t really doin’ anything for me. Slug’s rappin’ about the aftermath of a car accident… It’s just not really interesting to me… This album sounds like it was made for other middle aged men. I mean, I think Slug did a really good job with the concept, and this is a really well written song, but it’s just not for me personally. I’m not feelin’ this song sonically. It’s not that bad, but I definitely wouldn’t return to this. It’s okay. 3/5

Track 13: Something So

I’m actually really fuckin’ with this somber production. I feel like the word “somber” could be used to describe this whole album, but Ant really took it to the next level with this song. This is the perfect example of an emotional sounding beat. That’s not a bad thing tho. I really like it. This is a REALLY emotional song. I think Slug’s rapping about the birth of his child. Fuck man. This is a really heavy & emotional track, and I kinda fuck with it, but I’d be lying to myself if I gave this anything higher than a 3. I’m not gonna be coming back to this. I usually like sad, emotional shit. This is just way too slow for me tho. Maybe if there was some percussion or something. I feel like if Jay Electronica had this beat I’d probably love whatever he did with it. Maybe if I was a father I’d appreciate this more. Whatever. All I know is this track has little to no replay value for me. It’s DEFINITELY not bad tho. It’s alright. 3/5

Track 14: My Notes

This is the final track on the standard version of the album. I’m doing the deluxe edition tho. Woooow. I don’t know if it’s just because of how unbelievably slow the previous track was, but this really feels like the most energetic song on the whole album to me. The beat isn’t bad. There’s only one verse. It was cool. It felt kinda short tho. I think I enjoyed this one more than the previous track, but, again, there’s pretty much no replay value in this. It’s the production man. This somber, emotional, heavy, depressing production is just bringing me down. I usually like sad music, but this song sounds more like an Alternative Music instrumental than a Hip Hop instrumental. It’s alright I guess. 3/5

Track 15: Millennium Dodo 2

Well, I guess I might as well finish the album right now since I only have 2 bonus tracks left. I’ll go to sleep when I’m finished with this and start working on the Southsiders review tomorrow. Wooah. This beat sounds really dope. It sounds like Ant was actually experimenting a little bit. This is one of the only songs on the album that has sufficient percussion, which results in Slug rhymin’ with more energy. Of course they start experimenting more on the bonus tracks. I guess they weren’t sure if people would like this. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not super different from everything else on the album. It’s not like it sounds completely out of place. It just sounds more interesting than most of the other shit. The first verse was dope. The hook isn’t bad. The second verse was nice. The third verse was dope too. Thank God. A song I actually like. I wasn’t expecting to find another dope song on this album to be honest. This shit is dope tho. 4/5

Track 16: Cut You Down

Oh shit… This beat is dope af. Goddamn. Why the fuck wasn’t this on the standard edition? This beat is fucking awesome. Oh… That guitar doesn’t sound very good… Ant could’ve left that shit out… I still like the beat tho. Eh… The first verse… I mean, it was well-written I guess. The subject matter just isn’t for me. He’s just rapping about being super paranoid. He’s worried that someone’s gonna try to break into his house I guess. He sounds like my dad. There was one point last year when my dad spent a shit load of money on a really expensive security system, and he was even thinking about getting a gun at one point. I don’t know why the fuck he got so scared all of a sudden lmao. He must of pissed someone off. It was annoying as hell. Anyway, I’m not feelin’ this hook. The second verse was alright I guess. Um… Nah. I’m not feelin’ this one. I really liked the production until the guitar came in. Pretty much everything else about this song was uninteresting to me. This is wack to me. 2/5

Final Thoughts:

Well, that was really fuckin’ depressing. I don’t like this album. This is the only album from Atmosphere that I’ve heard that I don’t like. I thought I was gonna like this album when it first started. The first few songs were really well produced. Well, this whole album is really well produced to be honest. I think the reason I liked the first few tracks more than the others was because of how dark the production sounded. I probably started getting tired of the production style after the first few songs too. Just like with the previous two albums, Ant is incorporating a lot of guitars in his beats. Y’all already know that that was a really bad thing for me. Slug’s rapping… It wasn’t really bad. I feel bad for saying this, but… I just think Slug sounded really old on this album. It was depressing. It feels really fucked up to say something like that; I don’t think I’ve ever felt that way about an artist before. He just sounds really… I don’t know. This album felt like an old man reciting poems over Indie Rock instrumentals, and it felt like his target audience was other old men. I guess I should say middle aged instead of old. He was only like 40 when this album came out I think. Actually I think he was 39. I don’t know. It doesn’t matter. The production was REALLY somber. I think I said this before, but the percussion sounded very light. The beats… These just don’t sound like Hip Hop instrumentals. I need to stop repeating myself tho. I don’t know if I can call this a “bad” album, but I definitely didn’t like it personally. This shit made me wanna cry, and not for the right reasons. It was boring, and Slug just sounded… I don’t know. He sounded like… I… I don’t know. Again, I know it’s unreasonable for me to expect Atmosphere’s newer shit to sound like Headshots: SE7EN or God Loves Ugly, but this new sound that they have just isn’t very appealing to me. They don’t even really sound like the same group anymore. I tried to avoid saying that when I reviewed their previous two albums, but I really don’t know why. Oh shit… What the fuck? They… Wooow. Okay, apparently they actually AREN’T the same group anymore. How the fuck did I not know this? Apparently they added two new members: a guitarist named Nate Collis, and a Keyboard player named Erick Anderson… Seriously HOW THE FUCK DID I NOT KNOW THIS??? Fuck… They shouldn’t have added those two guys… I REALLY wasn’t feelin’ the production on this shit. I… I can’t believe it… Fuck man. This is really disappointing. They’d probably have that raw sound back if they got rid of those two guys… Fuck everything, man… Well, whatever… Hopefully this was just a slight road bump and their next album is better. This album is just okay I guess…

Favorite Song: My Key

Least Favorite Song: She’s Enough




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