I’m not going to front – I like this two-EP project even if I wasn’t one of the DJs named on the “Just Tryin’ To Make Friends With Your Deejay” (note to Atmosphere - I better be on your next installment). While it’s the type of hyperactive, self-enthused hip-hop that just screams “midwest” and/or “white”, there’s something giddily engaging about Atmosphere’s sheer passion on the songs and smug cleverness. In a sense, like Eminem, he don’t give a f*ck, but in this case that means just making songs that rock his world and if you’re lucky, it’ll rock yours too.
Ford One kicks off with the dub-inflected “Free Or Dead (Ford One)”, produced by Anticon’s Jel with a thump-friendly touch. It’s braggadocio but light years away from the different guns n’ guts posturing of street-wise underground MCs. Just peep the hook (and when’s the last time you heard a hook like this?): “turning over the ignition on my solar system/check the gauges/push in the tape/put my foot on the break/shift existence/light my cigarette/take it state to state/until I crash into my fate.” When you hear how he pulls this off (and that’s only half of it), you’ll either think he’s one of the most pretentious MCs on the planet or some certifiable genius. Personally, I’m leaning towards the latter if only b/c I’m familiar enough with his body of work to know that Atmosphere’s got some crazy sh*t running through his noggin’ and his songs seem to be a great way to get it out. It’s a tough call to make – just check out “The Woman With The Tattooed Hands” on Ford Two – its free-form narrative is either the stuff of mescaline-inspired dream walks or just a pompous attempt at being more obtuse than thou. Maybe it’s a little of both but Ant’s melodic, piano-driven track makes me give the nod towards a more positive evaluation.
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