I'm back in the first-person again, because it's time to write about one of my favorites — hip hop. The only thing better than a dope track with a solid beat and a sick rap is when its video features tattoo-related imagery. This is the case with the great new release by Atmosphere that we've been passing around here at Tattoodo, so we thought we'd share it with you all.
For those of you not familiar with Atmosphere, the pair of musicians — rapper Sean "Slug" Daley and DJ Antony "Ant" Davis — have been producing music for over twenty years. The duo is renowned for their thought-provoking lyrics and outstanding instrumentals. Over the course of their extraordinary musical career, they have produced eight studio albums and show no signs of stopping any time soon.
The track itself, "The Shit We've Been Through" from their latest album Fishing Blues, is an impressive piece of musical composition. The lyrics are about a failed relationship and Slug delivers on his consistently complex and provocative style.
Slug's raps often use tattoos as subject matter, and in keeping with the video, he employs several metaphors that use the art form as their point of reference. In the second verse, he spits, "A little ink, with a kiss and a wink, but the bigger the stink, the steeper the drink." Later in the same portion of the rap, he does it again, "Pick up your phone before my plane departs. I'm trying to make a mark in the shape of a heart." In lines like these, Slug illustrates how the figurative power of tattoos extends into other art forms, like hip hop.
I find the video mind-blowing. The use of slow motion captures the intensity of the tattoo process. In it, one can see the thrumming of the machine and the ripples of the ink each time the needle pierces the skin. This emphasis on the pain of the tattoo corresponds perfectly to the subject matter of heartbreak in the lyrics. Also, the idea of permanence that the video communicates through its tattoo imagery reflects the sentiment of the rap, that the shit we go through stays with us forever.
The tattoo artist in the video is Eric Eckert, who works at So Cal Tattoo (where the video was shot) in Tarzana, Calif. More of his work can be found on his Instagram @ericeckert_tatoos. He specializes in neo-traditional and, frankly, his tattoos kick ass.
Now, without any further ado, here's the video.