The Continuing Tale of Slug and Ant
On Southsiders, Slug once again teams up his long time collaborator DJ/producer Ant, and together as Atmosphere they harness the power of hip hop to electrify the heavens. It has been three years since the last time this duo dropped an LP, and these 15 tracks are evident that Slug has a lot to talk about. Mixing his gift for storytelling with sermonizing on sociopolitical topics, these raps read like homilies.
Out of the gate, Slug and Ant show that this isn’t their first time at the rodeo. “Camera Thief” starts off with a nice, almost minute long jazzy introduction before Slug busts on the scene like a cop knocking down a door at a drug den. The lyrics “If I had a time machine / I’d probably use it like a vacuum and try to clean” demonstrates the underlying theme of regret present throughout. “The World Might Not Live Through the Night” starts with a wah-wah guitar lick. Slug supplies some his finer lines here such as “I know I’m not crazy / Got so much soul the devil hates me.”
“My Lover Got Two Men” grooves like a country rap tune from the top all the way to the slide guitar, while a few tracks later, “January on Lake Street” switches to a mix of piano runs and steady drum beats. Listening to this album shows two things: Slug can rap over any style of beat and Ant can supply him with whatever beat he may require.
Southsiders isn’t a great hip hop album; it’s a great album, period. There’s no need for qualifiers. Slug and Ant’s dynamic creates a unique sound that doesn’t come across as formulaic or insincere. Slug’s words come across as genuine while Ant merely nestles his lyrics between musical melodies that are just as heartfelt.