Like it or not, NYC still owns hip-hop. The west and the south may
steal the spotlight from time to time, but the rotten apple still runs
the show. So what the hell is Minnesota doing here? Better yet, why is
this group from the Twin Cities running the independent hip-hop scene? Well aside from the tireless touring, it’s because they make incredible fucking music. Plain and simple.
Well maybe it’s not that simple. Slug has an appeal that few can match; poignant self-awareness, intelligence, razor-sharp humor and the ability to address the opposite sex better than anyone I’ve ever heard…be it loving them or hating them. So dudes can relate and the girls swoon. Of course, it helps his cause when he is backed by arguably the game’s finest producer in Ant. You Can’t Imagine How Much Fun We’re Having is album number five from the Minneapolis duo, and the culmination of their individual and collective growth as artists. Ant has never captured Slug‘s pen strokes quite like this, and as an emcee and a songwriter, Slug has never sounded this good over the course of an LP.
The metaphor-ridden “Pour Me Another” epitomizes both the album and the duo as Slug laments “one double for the hunger and the struggle/two for the fool trying to pull apart the puzzle/three now I smile while I wait for your rebuttal/by the fourth shot I’m just another child in a bubble/tryin’ to play with the passion and the placement/just to see what the people let him get away with,” over Ant‘s rolling piano sample. The beauty of the album is the balance, as neither the emcee nor the producer gets a hand up. As Ant constructs maybe his finest beat yet with “Little Man,” Slug writes his magnum opus. Penning verses to his son, his father and to himself. Capping the song with the words to himself, he finishes with nothing short of brilliance; “Sometimes you’re not impressed with the work you’ve done/and love isn’t love unless you hurt someone/your son says ‘hi dad’/your dad says ‘what’s up’/me? I wanna thank you but I won’t I’ll just say good luck.” Just as gripping is his first musical addressing of the young girl who was raped and killed at one of their shows. “That Night” shows a side of Slug that hasn’t needed to come out, with a brand new delivery to boot.
Slug broadens his bars to cover societal issues on both “Get Fly” and the stripped down “Panic Attack.” Ant similarly brings the bare bones boom-bap approach to both “Watch Out” and “Bam,” both with outstanding results. And of course, Sluggo deals with his females in various capacities on “Say Hey There,” “Angelface” and “Smart Went Crazy,” all in classic fashion. While I could really go on and on about every track, I’d be remiss not to mention “Musical Chairs” just because its silly good.
As a fan since Overcast! they’ll never be able to top Lucy Ford for what it meant to me personally. But You Can’t Imagine How Much Fun We’re Having is absolutely their zenith, in absolutely every sense. It defines honest, music from the soul, it defines emcee/producer chemistry, and can be defined as a classic album. You can’t imagine how good this album is.