“I wrote this one while I was still alive,” Atmosphere’s Slug spits on the opening line of “Graffiti.” Setting the stage for a metaphoric glance at both the romantic MC’s inner workings and the heavily layered track, the video takes that authentic grittiness a step further. Directed by longtime collaborator Jason Goldwatch, the purposefully wobbly and out of focus visuals jarringly accentuate the meaning of Atmosphere’s latest album, La Vida Local’s closing track.
Slug takes his verses slow and steps with purpose on this track. The track’s producer (and Atmosphere co-founder) Ant, on the other hand, uses fanfare and a touch of melancholy to drive the point home. Equal parts reminiscent and progressive, “Graffiti” serves as one of La Vida Local’s highlights and makes fair work in closing out the album trilogy.
In the video, we see Slug as he maneuvers through cutty Minneapolis spots, sometimes with a tiny white chihuahua. The mural that provides the initial backdrop, of a dove leaving hands, provides another layer of symbolism of rebirth. With almost as much to see as to hear, each watch sheds new light on the track’s implied meaning. The quality of visual appears like 1960s and 1970s family movies.
“Graffiti” marks the concluding track on the final album of a trilogy created, as Slug says in a recent Ambrosia For Heads interview, to “get comfy with the idea of death.” Preceded by Southsiders in 2014 and Fishing Blues in 2016, the final album ties up loose ends, still floating the same themes of home, mortality and family. “This record isn’t about dying. But is the final of this particular trilogy of mortality. That’s why [I say on ‘Graffiti’], ‘I wrote this one when I was still alive,‘ to put closure on that. Then, for the next record, I can start fresh. I don’t have to do anything that has anything to do with what I just did,” Slug recently revealed. “It took me f*ckin’ five years to complete this weird trilogy. Sh*t. I’m so glad that it’s done.”
When we revisit that opening line, Slug provides closure, so the duo can move on to something completely different.
Atmosphere is currently touring La Vida Local with Rhymesayers artist, deM atlaS, as well as supporting acts The Lioness and DJ Keezy. The next leg kicks off in mid-November and covers the nation well into spring of 2019.
Press photograph by Dan Monick provided by Rhymesayers Entertainment.
#BonusBeat: Ambrosia For Heads‘ recent conversation with Slug about Mi Vida Local: