Hip Hop Classic- Overcast!

Here on Planet STRONGBONES, we love classic hip hop.  Sometimes the best albums are overlooked or forgotten, so we’ve taken it upon ourselves to jog your memory…

Listen To It!

Atmosphere- Overcast! (1997)

In  1997, the Minnesota underground group released their debut “Overcast!” on Rhymesayers Entertainment.   The emotion-packed flow of both Slug and Spawn coupled with the dark and distinctive production of DJ Ant create a specific and deliberate mood; Atmosphere injects their thought processes into your head and forces you to wear their mindset for 72 minutes.

Opener- “1597” 

The first track on Overcast! Is quite smartly chosen.  Ant uses a dark classical sample to create a distinct channel for Slug’s ominous lyrics to flow through.

The mic, let me clutch it/ Thoughts take flight/ So fit Slug in your pipe, and take a puff kid

Slug is not afraid to boast, as most MCs do, but he does so with a methodic flow that is solely his own:

 ‘Cause I can read an MC from front to back/ From the cover to the classified/ I pacified my mind with my  rhyme skills/ I climb hills/ and leap, foolish twitch with a single bound/ Sending tingles down your spine, designed to swing and pound…

Slug continues to demonstrate his syballic abilities with his companion Spawn on the back-and-forth track “Multiples”

Ironic/ Most kids pale in comparison/ To my phonics, so come inhale some embarrassment

Even in the midst of Slug’s obvious MC talent, Spawn holds his own naturally on this album.  It is of no question that he belongs on this record

Standout Song- “Scapegoat”

It’s in the water/ It’s in the air/ It’s in the meat/It’s indirect, indiscrete, it’s inconsistent, incomplete

The true gem of Overcast! is the track Scapegoat.  Here, Atmosphere shows their ability to perform one  the most important skills in true hip-hop: create a song with a theme.  Ant creates the medieval mood with another wise sample choice, and Slug lyrically lays out all the common “Scapegoats” people use to excuse themselves, and provides the notion that it’s all bullshit.

It’s Bloods, Crips, fives, six, it’s stick up kids/ It’s christian conservative terrorists, it’s porno flicks

It’s the East coast, no it’s the West coast/ It’s public schools, it’s asbestos/ It’s mentholated, It’s techno

He concludes by seemingly indicating that the listener should stop using these “Scapegoats” as excuses.

It’s ain’t me, motherfucker, it ain’t me

I’m not sure if I would call Overcast! a defintite concept album, but it most certainly creates a particular mood that draws the listener in allows them to feel many of the same emotions the group members do.    Listening, it is more than possible to close your eyes and visualize a harsh Minnesota winter with Overcast! as the musical backdrop.

Were this album to come out today, it would surely be regarded as a great triumph in the underground hip hop community.  Given that it came out in 1995 however, this album shines as one of the most memorable hip hop debuts of all time.

Interested? –> http://rhymesayers.com/atmosphere/


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