The lights dim as the sound check music fades. Some audience members’ eyes widen with excitement as screams and cheers flood the crowd. A few men casually walk onstage as the applause from the audience swells to its peak. Ant and Slug, the duo that call themselves Atmosphere, finally emerge. It is 2007 at Fuji Rock Fest in Japan, and Atmosphere is killing it. The beats laid down by Ant get the whole audience moving as Slug’s words reach out and grab everyone’s attention.
Atmosphere has the ability to fully captivate their listeners with lyrics about life and an energy conducted from the honesty of every word. Recently, I conducted a interview with Sean “Slug” Daley, and he admitted that he doesn’t play songs he isn’t feeling, saying, “I don’t fake it, I’m not that kind of performer.” He mentioned that there are songs Atmosphere will not perform for years and years. However, these temporarily avoided songs have a chance to return to the set list once the group sees relevance in them again. When describing how his music relates to his life, Slug made the comparison of albums to a scrapbook, listening to different songs from the past is a lot like looking at old photos.
Even though Atmosphere’s music has the tendency to address deeper topics than some of the more mainstream hip hop, Slug doesn’t think any less of that side of the genre. “I don’t judge the other types of rap out there,” says Slug, “it’s all rap and people rap about what they want. For instance, if someone is rapping about money and women it is because they think rap is going to get them those things.” Slug’s lyrics focus on life and manifest happiness because that is what he is interested in. Atmosphere’s latest album, The Family Sign, is about appreciating the people you care about, the people you consider to be your family. If you want Atmosphere to be a memory in your life scrapbook, come to Showbox SoDo on August 22nd to see Atmosphere with support from Evidence, Blueprint, DJ Babu, and Prof.
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