"It’s been a personal belief of mine that there is music that you’re supposed to hear at a certain point in your life. Hear it earlier, it passes by you unable to make it’s impact, and you continue you on without ever taking a second listen. However, when an album or artist finds you at that perfect time in your life, just when your ear is searching for something, this sound can change your whole perspective. This is what our album of the week, Atmosphere’s "Seven’s Travels", did for me.
Back in the day, my big brother Brendon had an old Mazda 323 that was a hand-me-down from our uncle. Not a great car, but it meant independence, and since I didn’t have a license at the time it meant me getting a lot of rides from him. A common night would be to meet up with some friends of ours at a local IHOP to hang, eat stacks of pancakes, and hang for a bit discussing life as far as we had known in our few years. Since Brendon was the point man on these trips, he’d have rule over the CD player, and it was at this time that he was just starting to get into hip-hop, specifically underground, not widely known stuff. I was a dumb little music snob at the time who’s only real frame of reference for hip-hop was gangster rap that a bunch of kids I couldn’t stand listened to.
To this day, I remember exactly the corner we were at, the stoplight we were stopped at, the way the inside of the car looked, and the way the my brain lit up at the first few seconds of “Trying To Find A Balance”. Before playing it my brother prefaced the song with “this should change your mind about hip-hop” and god damn was he right. I had never heard an MC so honest, raw, or as self depricating as Slug was on this album. Couple that with Ant’s production with layers and layers of different sounds, all mashed together in one cohesive, pulse thumping set of tracks. This was what hip-hop COULD be.
Now, because of records like this, I do what I do. I make the music I make. Trying to get to that same self aware place that Slug was at when he wrote those rhymes, to make beats as intricate and complete as Ant does. Still working at it, but I’m getting there. Granted, there have been a lot of albums since and I’ve now opened my ears to all manners of music and sound (I dropped the music snob act a long time ago), but that memory remains. Its like the first time I heard Coltrane, Tom Waits, Mingus, The Roots, and artist that has shaped me.
Always keep your ears open. Always be quick to surrender yourself to those moments. Always let your big brother show you his music.”
A little something I wrote for Milkbread for our album of the week series.