Atmosphere – Trying to Fly (feat. Eric Mayson)

3 out of 5

Label: Rhymesayers

Produced by: Atmosphere

Uh, hm. Most Atmosphere songs, I can pretty easily give you a high level view as to what Slug is rapping about – weed, Minnesota life, the rap game, girls, etc. But, wow, Trying to Fly is kind of… faceless? From the verses to the eventual additions by Eric Mayson, all the lines sound like starting points for ideas; greeting card-style sentiments. Even the way Slug kind of has to warm up to the track – his vocals come in rather flat and rough – is suggestive of something written on the back of a napkin, just to fill a beat.

…However, that facelessness translates to harmlessness, also, and once things get going, the music on this is pretty solid, with G Koop / Mayson / Dillon Parker adding full band accompaniment that lets the sounds shift and change along the way, leading to a track that has feeling, though maybe not actual content. Which makes it kinda nice, actually, since Slug – on these pre-Fishing Blues singles, and frequently in his older age – is often trying too hard for meaning or to still sound vital, and it’s pleasant just having a somewhat template track with his tell-tale lilt and live instrumentation chugging along on a solid groove. More listenable than the last few singles, by far.