2 out of 5
Produced by: Atmosphere
Yes, the Atmosphere crew has produced some fantastic singles in their time, but latter-day Atmos, by my opinion, tends to function better when tracks are stacked up on an album, or EP. Sean’s rhymes flow as easily as ever, and he can still stumble across a stunning turn of phrase, but his overall narrative punch tends to be most effective when it’s themed across songs; Ant arguably has better luck giving us one-off beats, but because his style with Slug is often a bit of a slow-roll approach, he also makes an impression when you have time to absorb some nuances across 40+ minutes of material. In short: Atmosphere of this era (2010s) does not make me run to see what new standalone single is dropping.
Still, this project of build-up singles before Fisherman’s Blues released is an interesting idea, and given the duo’s long history, anything that might give them a new spark of creativity is welcome.
…But these singles have still mostly been par, and, unfortunately, when listened to in isolation, are hitting below that, as there’s no padding material for them to lean on. Enter Salma Hayek, which is half a weak battle track – Sean starting off strong, then falling back on crassness, which becomes less and less appealing as he gets older – and then half nonsense where he name drops famous names, Hayek amongst them (but I’m supposing more “appealing” than Herbie Hancock when used as the title of the song…).
The beat is okay, but the scratches and call-back chorus feel forced old-school; the flow is good, but as mentioned, the lyrics feel like a wash. That said, that does mean the instrumental is more fun than the regular version, as you can revel in its funkiness without the cringe of some of the words, but it’s a bit too repetitive to merit repeat listens.