Atmosphere’s sixth studio album, The Family Sign, is full of stories of the Minneapolis rapper, Slug’s, childhood and his misplaced anger regarding his reflection on relationships with his family and lovers of the past. The sullen jump in seriousness from his last few albums shows growth in his artistic endeavors and successfully validates his crown as the King of angsty indie hip hop.
At the beginning of The Family Sign, Slug discusses his childhood, family life and fatherhood. He then transitions to songs expressing different emotions towards women and the various dynamics that romantic situations can harbor. Slug is fantastic at painting a picture with his voice. The 90’s grime in the guitars and drum riffs are the perfect compliment to his pensive, slightly consoling voice. He describes scenes effortlessly as if the listener is a trusted friend that he frequently confides in. On “The Last to Say,” the repetition of the kick drum is reminiscent of the beating of an anxious heart. The song is laced with urgent lyrics, encouraging battered women to flee from abusive relationships. “The Last to Say” describes how he interpreted the relationship between his parents as a child and how his father’s death negatively effected his family and influenced him in his adult life.
“Bad, Bad Daddy” would be the contrast to “Last to Say” with it’s slightly more joking tone, giving relief from the intensity of the first few tracks and gives the album a bit of a break as Slug goes into detail about the bad influence he has on his kids. On “Who I’ll Never Be,” he oozes passion as he describes the voyeuristic tendencies of unrequited love. A beautiful piece of work.