Your girlfriend’s favorite rappers are back. Atmosphere’s Slug and the Living Legend’s Murs, representing Minnesota to Mid City, have replaced Grouch with Ant, an EP with an LP, and Christina Ricci with Lisa Bonet. Other than that, not much has changed. They both still love to rap about woman, be it examining them, fucking them, or stealing yours. They still trade rhymes with terrific chemistry and possess very complimentary wits and personalities. Some duo’s who’ve been together for a decade don’t mesh as well as Slug and Murs do in just two projects.
The emcees may pick up where they left off (with some improvements), but the production is a whole ‘nother world. Ant was a superior beatmaker to Grouch to begin with, and here he has stepped his game up yet again to just blow the first Felt album out of the water. Clearly playing to Murs’ left coast sensibilities, Ant crafts both smooth, breezy jams a la “Morris Day” and booming gangsta beats like “Breaker Down Like a Shotgun.” Ant’s finest work, the silky “Woman Tonight,” is arguably both Slug and Murs’ shining moments as well and the cherry on the sundae here. Slug communicates with an anonymous woman as he only he can; “lonely isn’t a strong enough adjective to describe all the nights that I tried to grip/I lack the necessary tools to help me get right/so take your place as the temporary savior/as I’m looking at your face like I’ll be tested on it later/I’ll bet you like to fuck but you love to argue/poke a hole inside my chest and pull my heart though.” Similarly playing to his strengths, Murs goes into storytelling mode; “took me out for pancakes, paid for the dinner/then took me to my room, let me watch sportscenter/and then we made out, and then we made love/then I passed out while I got a backrub/and in the middle of the night I reached for a second helpin’/got a hand full of sheets, I was all by myself and…”
Obvious students of the game, Slug and Murs get their Run DMC on trading rhymes on the funky “Employees of the Year.” Then they interpolate Ice-T’s legendary “6 N The Mornin'” on the banging “Early Mornin’ Tony.” But they don’t just emulate, they originate, just check the incredible “I Shot A Warhol” that has both of them rapping the same verse at the same time. The album is rounded out by several other real dope cuts such as “Marvin Gaye,” “Dirty Girl” and the thoughtful “The Biggest Lie.”
Not surprisingly, considering the parties involved, this tribute to Lisa Bonet is one of the best albums to drop this year. And for those who were fans of the first installment of “Felt,” you should be doing backflips over this one.