Is it any wonder that today's biggest emo lyricists -- Eminem, Anticon's Dose One and Atmosphere's Slug -- began their careers as battle rappers? After all, the constant personal needling at the hands of opposing MCs had to make them acutely self-conscious of their flaws. Headshots: Seven
compiles a series of Atmosphere's early releases, when, in Slug's own words, he was "an arrogant little fuck with a microphone and a notion that [he] was better at this than you were." The songs aren't always great; the production is often amateurish, and Slug's flow frequently runs through the beat. But there is much to be gleaned for Atmosphere fanatics. For one thing, Slug was one hell of a battle rapper. And many of the themes that would later dominate his lyrics -- bleeding-heart romanticism and vulnerability -- are clearly being developed in these early tracks. Headshots
is a must for die-hard fans, a bore for the rest of you.