Day 137: Atmosphere – When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint that Shit Gold

15 Jul


As far as white boy hip-hop goes, you can’t ask for much better than Minneapolis’ own Atmosphere.  Minnesota Week continues with the duo’s fantastic (as well as fantastically titled) When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Shit Gold.

I tend to avoid hip-hop records on this blog.  I’m a big multitasker, meaning I listen to the record and write these posts simultaneously.  As a result, it can be difficult to focus on lyrics for most records.  With my little indie hipster garbage bands, that’s not a huge problem.  I can usually figure out what the lyrics are about (if you guess love, Brooklyn, or love in Brooklyn, there’s a 100% chance that you’re right).  Hip-hop records are usually lyric intensive, though, with the vocals mixed above anything else.

The bits and pieces of rhymes that I picked up on were amazing.  Typical hip-hop themes of strippers, death, money, and sex are all present, and maybe even overused a bit.  The way Atmosphere addresses these topics is what sets them apart from standard hip-hop in my mind, though.  They go beyond just telling a trite story, they get inside the demented heads of the characters created in their tracks.  I didn’t know that hip-hop could be this smart.  I listen to Das Racist and Lil B (ironically, of course), so I guess I’m never really exposed to intelligence in this genre.  Swag.

The beats, which my black friends have informed me are crucial in hip-hop, are actually pretty simple.   As someone fairly unfamiliar with this genre, this doesn’t bother me very much.  They get the job done, and showcase the record’s excellent lyrics.  Perhaps a bigger hip-hop fan may be left unsatisfied by the simplicity, but it’s good enough for me.

Hey, what can you expect?  They are white, after all.  And Minnesotans.


4 Responses to “Day 137: Atmosphere – When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint that Shit Gold”

  1. Ty Jones July 15, 2011 at 10:15 pm #

    One of my best friends loves this album. I have it, but have never actually listened to anything but the song You. After reading this post, I definitely need to listen to it one of these days.

    Another Minnesota hip-hop group is POS. He’s all right. I saw him in concert once. He opened for Against Me!.

  2. Yuanny Dollar July 17, 2011 at 1:27 am #

    Agreed. Great album title. Must be quoted, often. What I would like Swole Ear to do, however, is to write the Platonic indie hipster band song about love and Brooklyn. It could be pretty funny. What rhymes with Bensonhurst? I’ll be waiting.

    • Dave Chops July 17, 2011 at 5:51 am #

      Gee, I’ve always been partial to version of Bucky the Cat (from “Get Fuzzy”): “When life gives you salmon, make salmonella”.


  1. Some Stats « Swole Ear - March 9, 2012

    […] 123 different tracks contain the word “love” in their title, “Brooklyn” is used zero times.  In fact, references to New York City are only made in the titles of four […]

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