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Minnesota hip-hop duo Slug and Ant are back with a double EP of instrument-infused indie rap. On To All My Friends, Blood Makes The Blade Holy, Slug has become the Bruce Springsteen of the genre, weaving everyman parables and worker anthems into the fabric of 12 concise songs.

From the sinister opening notes of "Until the Nipples Gone," it’s clear that this isn’t your typical Atmosphere record. The variety of instruments employed by Nate Collis and company and Ant's unique arrangements result in an album that captures their live sound and hits the head like nothing the group has done before.

The record's standout is "The Major Leagues," featuring a snarling, puncturing guitar riff accented by Ant's delicate keys. For an emcee as self-deprecating as Slug, the "I'm dope" ethos of "Shotgun" is a welcome change of pace. With a back catalogue as expansive as anyone in rap, this Midwest emcee has earned the right to let his ego go in the studio. The chances taken on this collection pay off, and Atmosphere's streak of consistency remains intact.

  • Album: To All My Friends, Blood Makes the Blade Holy (2010)
  • Artist: Atmosphere
  • Label: Rhymesayers
  • Songs: (1) Until the Nipples Gone (2) The Major Leagues (3) Scalp (4) The Best Day (5) Americareful (6) Hope (7) The Loser Wins (8) Shotgun (9) Commodities (10) The Number None (11) Freefallin' (12) To All My Friends
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