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18 January, 2005@12:00 am

Reissue; No Rating Given.

     With what has become a cult following for a group like Atmosphere, comes an inquisition of previous works. For the past half decade or so Slug and Ant have reveled in the stew of fans who simply adore Slug’s self reflective wordplay amongst producer Ant’s evolving backdrops. But many of those that jumped on the Atmosphere ship when God Loves Ugly dropped, haven’t quite been able to witness the evolution of the group first hand. With that came the series of Headshots cassette only releases, that went largely unheard thanks to the outdated cassette format. Now, with Atmosphere’s popularity higher than ever, Rhymesayers releases Headshots Se7en on CD and 3LP for the first time ever.

    Se7en:Headshots is truly a collectors item in every sense of the word. For one, it was recorded on a four track and at times sounds a bit dated. But for people who love to witness the metriculation of their favorite artists, this is the album to have. The album showcases a hungry young battle rapper by the name of Slug who spent most of his time rapping about “who’s cock is bigger” rather than his more introspective works of today. The seeds of the emcee that many hear were planted throughout this album. Through joints like “Choking on the Wishbone” you can hear the emcee “moving from punchlines to sunshine.” There are moments like the humorous “@ It Again” where Slug’s sharp wit and timely humor begin to blossom. Or conversational pieces like “The Stick Up” where Eyedea shows up to deliver a back and forth narrative that Slug has mastered the art of. Ant’s production has proven to come a long way (and is still ever evolving) but within the strength of a four track one can witness the talent instilled in Ant which would eventually begin to show its face. Throughout the album, Slug moves from what he calls in his liner notes “Saving hip hop to just making hip hop.” His unparalleled female narratives can first be witnessed on the string influenced “Molly Cool.” Songs like “Sep Seven Game Show Theme” show the promise of Slug as he dwells on the preservation of hip hop (or lack thereof) all the while sharpening his wit and introspection on this once obscure release.

     By the time you get to “The Abusing Of The Rib” you will have witnessed the maturation of Slug and Ant come full circle in a little more than an hour. But be forewarned, if you are just tuning in to Atmosphere you may want to grab some of their other releases before you pick up this one. Simply because of its dated sound it may not quite catch the listener from the jump. But if you have every release since Overcast then it is only right that this CD lands in your collection.

  Mixtape D.L.
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