ATF Records is becoming the Rhymesayers of the South. Not that they are in any way trying to be them or even emulate the house that Atmosphere built, its just that with the product that they are releasing, you know if it has the ATF moniker you can count on the quality. The stellar debut by Psyche Origami was imaginative and chock full of that old school hip-hop that’s brought to mind by Tribe Called Quest, while rocking that dual deejay thing like Doug E. Fresh. Then came Collective Efforts now legendary CD; a mix of independent hip-hop that boasted quality music and hot rhymes.
ATF has raised the bar once again. It’s time to welcome in Minamina Goodsong’s senior release, The Four Farmer Circus.
With Circus, Goodsong—a multi-ethnic, Atlanta foursome (replete with DJ and 3 MCs)—draw on their many influences, melding together the sounds of house, funk, hip hop and emo, to create a high concept album. Patterned after such like-minded albums as De La Soul’s Three Feet High and Rising and The Goats’ Tricks of the Shade, this concept album tells a twisted, B-movie styled story in between its varied, head-nodding tracks. Although humorous, the skits here don’t work as well as the circus-themed joints on The Goats album.
However, the music doesn’t disappoint. “Four,” with its bouncy, playful, Beastie Boys-esque romp, offers up dope highlights like Pgnut the Prehistoric’s “I’m known to shoot the gift, but this year I’m bombing presents…” Get it? Don’t worry, as the song says, they’ve got more in store.
Such as “Big,” the album’s lead single. Behind sampled drums and power chords, the group commences a take-over; Adahma AD steals Jen Garner from Ben Affleck, Twain (aka Ted Jon) belittles wac emcees and Pgnut explains the obsessive-compulsive nature that keeps him in the lab composing dope couplets and serving them up to unsuspecting heads. The fun continues on the more politically tinged “The Porch,” where the guys take a look at “God’s Country” through the eyes of the Southern lifestyle. DJ T’Challa keeps things moving with the perfect blend of cuts and scratches.
“Look Out” is a more story oriented cut, with a narrative that allows the Farmers to morph into “bloodthirsty night-breed”. While “Changes” offers a more reflective opportunity over a vocal sample and drums that ride an early 70’s styled sample. “Magic” soars over Yes samples and crashing percussion.
This is feel good music with an exploration of different emotive states, mental states, and libidinous moods. Something you can listen to from beginning to end without feeling cheated. Already the group has taken over college radio. With their circus tour, they aim to take over the world.