12 Songs, 40 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

To All My Friends, Blood Makes the Blade Holy is Atmosphere’s most cohesive album since Lucy Ford. Slug’s greatest asset as a rapper is his rejection of escapism. While other rappers live out fantasies of inflated wealth or theatrical street violence, Slug remains preoccupied with the minutiae of everyday folks. “Scalp,” “The Best Day” and “Americareful” take the everyday headaches of average people — overdraft charges, health care coverage, lack of money to fill the gas tank — and make them glow with empathetic detail. Even as he unpacks the present moment, Slug is constantly revisiting his own past. “To All My Friends” and “Major Leagues” relive the rapper’s own experiences as an underprivileged rapscallion growing up in ‘80s Minneapolis. Rhythmically, the rapper is telepathically connected to his producer Ant, who delivers beats that fit his partner’s flow like a socket fits a plug. The most impressive thing about To All My Friends… is that it manages to remain optimistic even in the face of economic and social hardship. As Slug encourages in the album opener, “Let’s get it on until the nipple’s gone.”

EDITORS’ NOTES

To All My Friends, Blood Makes the Blade Holy is Atmosphere’s most cohesive album since Lucy Ford. Slug’s greatest asset as a rapper is his rejection of escapism. While other rappers live out fantasies of inflated wealth or theatrical street violence, Slug remains preoccupied with the minutiae of everyday folks. “Scalp,” “The Best Day” and “Americareful” take the everyday headaches of average people — overdraft charges, health care coverage, lack of money to fill the gas tank — and make them glow with empathetic detail. Even as he unpacks the present moment, Slug is constantly revisiting his own past. “To All My Friends” and “Major Leagues” relive the rapper’s own experiences as an underprivileged rapscallion growing up in ‘80s Minneapolis. Rhythmically, the rapper is telepathically connected to his producer Ant, who delivers beats that fit his partner’s flow like a socket fits a plug. The most impressive thing about To All My Friends… is that it manages to remain optimistic even in the face of economic and social hardship. As Slug encourages in the album opener, “Let’s get it on until the nipple’s gone.”

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