I’m listening to Atmosphere!
This used to sound crazy. It gave the impression you were listening to meteors or screams from the universe.
That is, of course, until the term was co-opted by a Minnesota based hip-hop crew with members named after a strong-skinned terrestrial mollusk (Slug, a.k.a. Sean Daley) and a beefy workaholic eusocial insect (Ant, a.k.a. Anthony Davis). Although an indie juggernaut today, Atmosphere is still proud to call Minneapolis home. Their label, Rhymesayers Records, is a local mainstay.
Since establishing Rhymesayers, Atmosphere has released nine studio albums, including their latest, Mi Vida Local, released in October. Ant’s clean, clever, catchy beats are the foundation of another great record, while Slug continues to follow his successful blueprint of rapping about everyday life struggles.
Singles “Virgo” and “Jerome” have propelled Mi Vida Local. They also released a full album stream music video on Youtube. The video takes you inside some of Minneapolis’s favorite venues, including Familia Skate Shop, Pimento, and Electric Fetus, allowing the viewer to visualize life in the Twin Cities.
Local Hip-Hop Shines at the Palace
There’s no better way to experience the Twin Cities hip-hop scene than by seeing Atmosphere and other local MC’s at work. They rounded out their 2018 Mi Vida Local tour with a two-night, sold-out stay at the Palace in St. Paul, with guests deM atlaS, Lioness, and DJ Keezy. Hip-hop firepower and Minnesota pride were on full display.
The Lioness, a powerful female rapper from North Minneapolis, was first up. Her incredible rap speed, jazzy delivery, and focus on social issues made a deep impression.
deM atlaS was next, featuring DJ Keezy, who also DJ’ed for The Lioness (even though she has a following in the Minneapolis DJ scene in her own right). Dem proved once again why he is one of the top local singers/rappers on the scene. Running on stage with his signature American flag scarf, he drew the crowd in with both his singing and dancing. Occasional, well-placed screams and screeches added an enjoyable and energetic edge to make-up for his rapping. His set had the excitement of a headliner, as it did when he recently opened for Brother Ali.
Atmosphere began their set in classic Minnesota/Slug fashion, simply wandering onto the stage before beginning with “Jerome.” The perfect acoustics and lighting of the Palace made the set immediately engaging.
Coming off the high of “Jerome,” Slug asked the crowd if it was okay if they played a lot of old stuff, drawing a deafeningly positive response. The resulting Atmosphere time machine sometimes went back 20 years. They finished out their set with the overly-appropriate “Always Coming Back Home to You” before the encore break.
Slug got some help from all the openers (including Cashinova, who made a guest appearance) to close out the show. He let the guests run wild on “Trying to Find A Balance,” allowing them to add their own unique freestyle flair.
We Have it Good
I’ve had the privilege of watching the independent hip-hop scene in Minneapolis (and the entirety of Minnesota, for that matter) blossom. Sometimes, it becomes such a natural part of who we are that we take it for granted. Its growth is largely thanks to Atmosphere building something special and not leaving once they tasted success.
Instead, they found their niche and created a successful business model, all the while providing an opportunity for local artists who are proud to say they are from Minnesota.
- Shoulda Known
- Say Hey There
- Fuck You Lucy / Pour Me Another
- Kanye West
- God Loves Ugly
- Busing of the Rob
- Modern Man’s Hustle
- Guns and Cigarettes
- The Best Day
- The Waitress
- Camera Thief
- God’s Bathroom Floor
- Love Life
- Always Coming Back Home to You
- Drown Ft. Cashinova, deM atlaS, and Lioness
- Trying To Find A Balance Ft. Cashinova, deM atlaS, and Lioness