Article written by: Justin Hammer
On yet another snowy night in Minneapolis, a large crowd of young and old gathered to see the most celebrated and acclaimed rap group in Minnesota’s history, Atmosphere. Slug and Ant have been the headliners of our nation’s largest rap festival, “SoundSet,” and performed numerous times next to some of the biggest names in rap’s entire history. On January 13, on the stage which has been shared by Prince and countless other legends, Atmosphere gave us another great hometown performance.
Unfortunately, we missed Nikki Jean’s opening set for the night after receiving a last-minute email inviting us out to the show. Fortunately, Slug ended up bringing her back toward the end of the night to perform a song. For the little time we got to see her…very impressed. Nice soft vocals accompanied by an even nicer, bigger, sun hat. We wish we could’ve seen more from her.
The Lioness took the stage about an hour after Nikki . She performed with incredible confidence for her first time on First Avenue’s historic stage. Her strategic wordplay, flair, and inspiring lyrical content left the crowd hyped and ready for one of Minneapolis’ hometown heroes. Really fun to watch and you can tell she knows she’s good. Not in a cocky way, but, there was a certain grin on her face throughout the night that said, “Oh yeah, I’m killin’ it.” Well deserved, because she is VERY good.
The boys took the stage just before 10:00pm. Their set was sprinkled with songs from the whole discography, touching on albums I used to listen to heavily while taking the morning bus to school. These early albums ranged from God Loves Ugly, Smart Went Crazy, When Life Gives You Lemons Paint that Sh*t Gold, to their albums of recent times. Everyone had a good time…but that’s to be expected. It’s Atmosphere. It’s nice having such a wonderful group right here in our hometown. They’re like the cool uncles of our city. Slug made a reference to his hair getting gray, but assured us that he’s definitely not old yet. We agree.
The most momentous moment of the night for the rapper was one of his most acclaimed classics, “Sunshine.” On another cold Minnesota night, the song brought the crowd back to summer, as everyone sang along to the rapper’s hungover experience in Uptown Minneapolis that turned into a beautiful day. The song follows the story of the rapper beginning to realize the beauty all around him and his eyes opening to appreciating life as his hangover starts to fade. As the song says, “Riding my bike around these lakes man, feeling like I finally figured out my escape plan.” The song embodies the experience of what an idealistic Minnesota summer feels like, a warm breath of fresh air.
Atmosphere’s music career is a Minneapolis success story that has maintained an undying love from fans. Slug has seen the good, the bad, and the ugly and came out the other side. That is what makes his discography such a heartwarming story, especially as a Minnesota native. His hair may be getting a bit gray, but Atmosphere will never get old.