Upon getting this album for review, my initial assumption was that this was Atheist, the old speed metal band. Exploring things a bit further, I learned that it was not a group, but an individual named Atheist. He was not metal, but hip-hop. On top of that, he is from Salt Lake City. While I know SLC has been a stop for many hip-hop artists, I wasn’t aware of any rappers from the area, and my stereotypes had to do with me assuming SLC wouldn’t be a place that would be rap friendly. I was proven wrong, and I’m glad I was.
Topanga is an album that I had to sit through a bit in order to figure things out. I’m hearing a guy who sounded decent on the mic and had some clever lyrics, but I wanted to be sure if this guy was legitimate. Atheist himself even touches on the stereotypes that exist for his city, and that opened him up a bit more. The album reflects on his life so far, including his upbringing and the things he experiences on a regular basis, but what holds true is his sense of humor and that he isn’t afraid to poke fun or mock not only himself, but his surroundings to show that despite the assumed differences, we are essentially the same. His definition of “old school” may not be the same as mine or yours, but it’s a reflection of what was good, why that matters, and how we carry that on in our lives today, thus one of the reasons he calls this after a well known sitcom TV show character. The production is quite nice throughout, and I think he can easily find a place in today’s hip-hop, whatever today’s hip-hop represents for the everyday fan. I found myself listening to it and discovering new things with each play, which doesn’t come with every hip-hop album I hear. Believe in the wit and wisdom of Atheist.