Felt 2: A Tribute To Lisa Bonet

Artist: Slug & MursTitle: Felt 2: A Tribute To Lisa BonetRating: 4 StarsReviewed by: Paine

After the Lucy Ford album, Slug vowed he’d never bring anybody else into the operation and call it an Atmosphere album. Slug and Ant played host to Murs several years ago with the EP, Felt: A Tribute to Christina Ricci. The duo played closer to what Murs fans are used to; hardcore rapping that covers everything from pimpin’, to skateboards, to housin’ other MC’s. With a cult following solidified, the effort didn’t feel approachable by new fans of either artist. A year removed from a MTV-breaking Atmosphere album as well as Murs’ acclaimed 9th Wonder EP, the duo reunites with more fanfare, a new direction, and a new harlot to honor–our girl, Denise Huckstable-with Felt 2: A Tribute to Lisa Bonet (Rhymesayers).

As the past was more resembling of Murs’ solo work, this feels like Atmosphere. Both MC’s interpolate famous Rap lines into their songs. One of the hardest, “Early Mornin’ Tony” largely borrows from the Ice-T classic. However, the aggressive energy both MC’s brings a fresh sound to the bravado. Most of the album deals with seduction towards tour date women, such as the soulful “Be My Woman Tonight.” Other songs are the resulting pain of loves past, like “The Biggest Lie.” Both artists execute well, and on most songs, the chemistry feels very present. Just as D-12’s Proof made his album, this album’s other songs are titled as credits to R&B luminaries such as Paisely Park’s “Morris Day” or the legendary “Marvin Gaye.” Beyond titles, these songs don’t deal with the subject matter, they’re just cool songs that exert some quotable lines on both parts.

Fans and critics have felt that Atmosphere producer, Ant [the “Anthony” repeatedly referred to] has evolved away from the sound he’s best known for. The man who will be visible to people for the first time on the cover [driving the El Camino] is back in style. From his guitar accented up-tempo gems like, “Gangsta Ass Anthony” to the great vocal sampling on “Marvin Gaye,” it’s all back. As an album defiantly made on Murs home-turf of Los Angeles, this record seems to borrow more from Ice-T, DJ Quik, King Tee, and AMG’s catalog than the usual Just Ice, Rakim, and KRS-One that the boys favor. Still, the most stylishly produced song on the album is “The Biggest Lie.” Although the subject matter is very concrete, this feels like an epic score to one of the Predator movies. Ant has a lovely way of dramatizing any circumstance whether through meaningful samples, hard drums and guitars, or just clever chops. This is the producer’s finest work since Brother Ali’s Shadows on the Sun two years ago.

With an Atmosphere album due in the fall, plus another Murs & 9th installment on the way, this may serve as an audio snack – the last one did. But as an LP this time, with more honesty in the record, this will satisfy many cravings. Ant advanced his game by going back to the meat of his reputation. This is one of the more exciting albums for the summer, and its made to play out in heat.