“When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Shit Gold” 10 Year Anniversary Edition 2LP Reminder Of Atmosphere's Timeless Sound

Posted by Billyjam, December 20, 2018 03:20pm | Post a Comment

Hip-hop vinyl reissue of the week, Atmosphere’s When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Shit Gold” 10 Year Anniversary Edition 2LP  is not simply a must-get double album back in print. It is also a reminder that the longtime beloved hip-hop duo, comprised of emcee Slug and producer Ant, make the type of music that truly stands the test of time. Since forming back in 1996 in Minneapolis Atmosphere have consistently crafted heartfelt, quality hip-hop that transcends time, sounding good in any decade, all the while remaining loyal to the genre's roots. Further proof of the Rhymesayers Ent. duo's timelessness lies in equally excellent recent 2018 release Mi Vida Local 2LP (also on CD) that's included in many best of 2018 lists.

For any hip-hop act twenty two years in the notoriously fickle genre, to consistently craft essential music and remain relevant is quite an accomplishment. Interestingly Atmosphere themselves have always been slow to accept their music's timeless quality; even mistakenly thinking that might have peaked creatively back at the start of the last decade. Back in 2008, upon the initial release of When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Shit Gold” 10 Year Anniversary Edition 2LP,  when I interviewed Slug for the Amoeblog he told me that even at that stage how he felt Atmosphere was six years past their prime.  "I think our expiration date was somewhere in 2002," he shared but quickly added, in his fun self-effacing way, that, "I'll keep going 'til I get fired or replaced by a younger stronger, more attractive idiot." 

Perhaps part of the key to Atmosphere's longevity is how the duo continue to evolve and advance their sound. Even Lemons (their fifth studio album) differed from their previous four albums. "Our approach musically was different.  We wanted to find a bigger but more minimal sound for this album," Slug told me at the time. "Lyrically, I wanted to write about other people's problems for once,"  he explained of the 15 track album reissued this week. The album is filled with engaging tales of flawed characters. On the track "Shoulda Known" Slug raps about the song's subject: “Lost in the rush. Don't know what to do  That drug got you like I want you.” At the time Slug explained these lyrics and the song as,  "Addressing being addicted to people who make poor decisions.  Being addicted to drama. And the moment of clarity that comes when you realize that you can't blame those drama-addicts. You have to take responsibility for self. No more Captain-Save-A-Homie." 
Further evidence of the brilliance and timelessness of Atmosphere can be found on their earlier album
release; 2005's You Cant Imagine How Much Fun We're Having reissued as 4LP in 2015 in celebration of its 10-year anniversary. That album's uniqueness lay in how it was an impassioned homage to  hip-hop's bygone eras. The album was ripe with lyrical and musical references to the old-school while still totally original in its overall presentation. On the album song "Watch Out" Slug rapped, "Cars drive by with the booming system. I must be gettin' old coz the bass sounds ridiculous" while Ant recreated the earth shattering sound of a car with way too many decibels. True to form, Slug's lyrics on the album are brutally honest, soul-bearing, and at times self-effacing.  

Released at the peak of the so-called "bling era" the album was the antithesis of that short-lived trend. Rather than glorifying consumerism and flashy superficiality, Slug examined the underbelly of society and the frailty of the human psyche. The album song "Panic Attack" for example tackled the topic of addiction and self-medication versus prescription drugs. "So what you drinking? So what you popping? So what you eating? So what you dropping? So what you smoking? So what you sniffing? So what's the difference?."  No one is truly drug free in our society, argues Slug, noting that the differences usually come down to mere semantics  "Do you call yourself a patient or a junkie?" 

For a full listing of what's available in the hip-hop duo's back catalog (CD and vinyl) visit Atmosphere's Amoeba online store page. Meanwhile below are three Atmosphere music videos from the albums When Life Gives You Lemons,  You Cant Imagine How Much Fun We're Having  and Mi Vida Local respectively. 

Atmosphere "You" from When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Shit Gold” 10 Year Anniversary Edition 2LP (2008/2018 reissue)

Atmosphere "Say Hey There" from You Cant Imagine How Much Fun We're Having  4LP (2005/2015 reissue)

Atmosphere "Graffiti" from Mi Vida Local 2LP (also on CD) (2018)

Relevant Tags

You Paint That Shit Gold” 10 Year Anniversary Edition 2lp (1), You Cant Imagine How Much Fun We're Having (1), Atmosphere (17), Mi Vida Local (3), Atmosphere Vinyl Reissues (1), Rhymesayers Entertainment (1), Minneapolis Music (1), Sean Daly (1), Ant (3), Slug (4), When Life Gives You Lemons (1)