ATMOSPHERE: Seven’s Travels: CD

I’m no authority on hip hop. The depth of my knowledge goes little deeper than Public Enemy to the Wu-Tang. I ultimately got turned off by the talk about bitches and gats and bling bling and whathaveyou. A couple years back, I got turned onto Atmosphere by their fellow Minnesotans, Dillinger Four and Dan Monick (who takes pictures for this magazine). It’s addictive stuff. The rhymes are organic, flow effortlessly, are made by humans I can relate to in more than one way (they name drop Lifter Puller and sing about drinking Jim Beam, among other things), and it keeps my head bobbing. Also, since I know a little bit about the band, they were seriously courted by the majors but decided – partially because they’re a diehard part of the underground community and partially because they’re not suckers – to pass on the easier sellout route and were able to make the exact album they wanted to. If you want a complete change of taste, or hang out with a bunch of people who loath punk, this may be your bridge.

 –todd (Epitaph/ Rhymesayers)