Review: Atmosphere

by Tyson


Slug, Ant, Spawn, Beyond and Stress began performing at venues in the Minnesota area around 1996. The next year they released copies of the poorly recorded but now hip hop collectors item “Sad Clown Bad Dub” under extremely limited distribution. That album turned a lot of Minnesota hip hop fans onto the group which was then 3 emcees and one DJ. Now the group consists of the trio of beatmaker Ant, emcee Slug and DJ Mr. Dibbs. While living out of their Minneapolis apartments the members managed to put together their own label under the name Rhymesayers. The 1997 release of Overcast and the Lucy Ford album that followed made Atmosphere a name in the underground scene. Slugs bright and comical metaphors became his trademark. The group had created a sound that was relatively new to hip hop. They began selling out shows in the twin cities. It was only a matter of time before they would begin hitting the road for tours. Slugs unique approach on the microphone earned the respect of other underground affiliates. Atmosphere would go on to team up with other artists such as Sage Francis, Living Legends, Sole, Blueprint, ADeeM and many more. Slug has never prided himself on being a battle emcee, but has been one of the more consistent and lyrically sound emcees in the field. In the process Atmosphere managed to help out other local emcees such as Eyedea and Brother Ali by adding them on the label as well as collaborations for their albums. By the time “God Loves Ugly” was released in 2001, Atmosphere was no longer a secret making several lists as “artists to watch”. Being their first big studio produced effort, the group drew the attention of even more fans including a punk and alternative rock crowd. Atmospheres brand of hip hop has kept many people in the commercial industry baffled, being that they are a group that doesn’t make loud statements on status and money and still have attracted a diverse audience. That can be credited to Slugs lyrics. Sometimes comical, sometimes depressing but always seem to be pleasing to the ear. And album and video backed by the punk label Epitpah, people are taking even more notice. Despite all the buzz, Atmosphere have paid their dues and Slug and Mr. Dibbs can still rock a show with the best of them.