Fans of Minneapolis-based Atmosphere have long enjoyed the underground rap troupe’s Sad Clown Bad series. Each one is unique and fresh, and this summer jam is he best of the lot. With summer stories that rival DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince’s classic anthem, Summertime, I can recommend this to fans of hip hop or laidback hipsway alike. It begins with Sunshine (“sunshine so fine/feel it in my skin/warmin’ up my mind”), a simple and radio-friendly ditty that you can play for your 10-year old. It proceeds to The Number One, which heats up a little bit, telling a story of High School love that is still innocent, especially compared with the nasty grind of mainstream hip hop. The star on this cut is Ant’s fantastic soul samples and well-placed snare riffs. Slug has perfect timing, knowing when to hit the beat and when to back off and the let the rhythm hit you. Things then heat up with RFTC, with a deeper, grimier beat and tales of doing lay-ups at the train yards (“bag full of pain/head full of brain”) and Running From The Cops. Ah, those were the days. But as soon as its over, we bounce back to The Mattress, an incredibly catchy number, and end with Don’t Forget, the best track on the EP with an awesome underground hook as good as anything MF Doom ever produced.
This release gets my absolute highest recommendation.