I was catching a train home a few days ago when I rediscovered one of my all-time favorite songs. Suddenly I was immersed in nostalgia. The hairs on my neck and arms stood rigidly; I was surprisingly aware of my eyeballs.
Whether you’ve heard it or are blissfully unaware, whether you love it or hate it, Atmosphere’s Smart Went Crazy is in no uncertain terms one of the greatest hip-hop tracks of human history.
I love everything about the track: Ant’s relaxed, bluesy production; the exemplary self-deprecating lyrics of Slug; the way the song strides right into the opening “I love this fucking country” of Angelface.
I sting like a first divorce, or them first Newports, whatever hurts you more.
Hearing it now brings back waves of memories, momentous tides, really. Hearing now what I heard then, I see the world I was in. I smell the same old rooms, air, and foods. I close my eyes and see the same landscapes, the same scenery. My limbs are convinced they feel the stroke of the same objects, are touched by the same people.
This song came to me at a time when I slowly came to the realization that deciding what I wanted to do in life was much less important than deciding what kind of person I wanted to be. Hearing it now reminds me again of that thought, reminds me to be the best person I can, to let the rest of the chips fall as it may.
Smart went crazy. The rubberband went snap. This goes to those that hold it down until I get back. Hold on to me. Grow along with me. I don’t where I’m going but I’ll end up in your arms.