Adding another dimension to their latest chapter, underground hip-hop titans Atmosphere present a new maxi-single entitled “WORD? Side B” today via Rhymesayers Entertainment. The release boasts three new tracks, including “Strung” [feat. Musab], “Sleepless” [feat. Nino Bless], and the single “Clocked.” They also dropped a cinematic music video for the latter.
On “Clocked,” producer Ant’s euphonic thrum waxes and wanes as Slug’s instantly recognizable flow captivates right from the intro, “Once upon a time, there was a young boy…” Between the razor-sharp snares, the warm fleshy basslines, and the resonant melody, fans will notice strong hints of Atmosphere’s nascent years within this cautionary tale about time.
In the visual, produced and directed by the team at 1Light Films, Slug appears to run a carwash, donning coveralls complete with the name patch, “Sean.” After waving an SUV into the tunnel, Slug delivers a foreboding performance from outside, while the wash begins to uncover an ominous tale of its own.
"WORD? Side B" paves the way for the group’s anxiously awaited new album, WORD?, out October 8 and promising an all-star cast of guests such as the late MF DOOM, Evidence, Aesop Rock, Sa-Roc, Lateef the Truthspeaker, Nikki Jean and more.
Atmosphere first set the stage for the album with the “WORD? Side A” maxi-single. Within a month, these four tracks have already eclipsed half-a-million streams and counting. The lead single “Woes” has already racked up 255K+ Spotify streams and 165K+ YouTube views on the fan favorite music video. Right out of the gate, mxdwn claimed, “‘Woes’ plays with futuristic and funky sounds to complete its deep yet light hearted message.” Meanwhile, HotNewHipHop put it best, saying “it’s all Atmosphere, who remain in fine form both lyrically and behind the boards.”
Get ready for WORD?
Following their last release, The Day Before Halloween—an imaginative, distorted-synth-driven concept album—Atmosphere’s refreshing new project veers toward their signature sound. Further highlighting producer Ant’s undeniable talents, WORD? leans into the classic boom-bap aesthetic, bringing a unique energy out of Slug’s wisdom, wit and delivery. From onset, WORD? proves to be as much of an exercise in refining and advancing their craft as it is a harkening to earlier work. That is, while Atmosphere’s releases have grown more broodingly cinematic, and increasingly concerned with the human condition and mortality, WORD? manages to reintroduce moments of levity and lightheartedness throughout, an approach seldom heard on their albums of late.
From album opener “Fleetwood,” with its razor-sharp snares and warm fleshy bassline, to the resonant melody of “Clocked”, there are strong hints of Atmosphere’s nascent years within the sound. Meanwhile, songs like “Woes”, “Strung” and “Vanish” cheerfully make light of daily hardships, but they’re more likely to be remembered for making listeners want to bob their heads and sing along. With Slug and Ant directing the course, the album plays like a joyride through a range of experiences and emotions, with an extensive cast of special guests hopping in and out along the way, including Evidence, Muja Messiah, Musab, Nino Bless, Nikki Jean, Anwar HighSign, BlackLiq, Sa-Roc, Haphduzn, Lateef the Truthspeaker, Aesop Rock, and the late MF DOOM. The result is a project that feels like it came from the era or, perhaps more fittingly, the mindset that created albums like God Loves Ugly, Seven’s Travels, or the popular Sad Clown series, while sounding as polished and perfected as more recent albums like Mi Vida Local and Whenever.
Ultimately, WORD? pairs the breadth of Atmosphere’s talents with the beauty of their growth, all while showing they still have a lot of fun in the process and don’t mind letting the listener in on the fun as well.