Imagine how many cigarettes, beers, tour dates, international flights, all-night drives, backstage shenanigans, countless hours in a van, low-budget hotel rooms, notebooks filled with lyrics and endless hours of recording sessions have been consumed, experienced and sustained by Atmosphere over the course eight years?
Let’s count to eight.
Remember 1997, the year beginning the next phase of independent rap artists and a new era of imprint-based record labels with the major label exploitation; the dividing period of: Mos Def, Jay Z, Company Flow and 2 Pac. Our story begins at this time in Minneapolis, MN. Eight years ago, when Atmosphere released their debut album Overcast!, on the artist’s collectively owned Rhymesayers label. Slug, Ant, with then member Spawn, delivered the premier staple album defining Minnesota Hip Hop. It would introduce a small audience to Midwest rap, not music from New York or California, but Minneapolis, MN. Atmosphere, a group built on Hip Hop principles influenced from the pioneering years of rap music, but with their own personal, honest and original mid-western contribution.
A year had passed and Atmosphere’s song, Scapegoat, received national play on college radio and mix tape support in: Chicago, New York and Los Angeles. Atmosphere was becoming discovered outside of the Twin Cities; the secret was out. During this time, both Slug and Ant were also involved in one of independent rap’s first underground super groups, The Dynospectrum (Slug, I Self Devine, Ant, Musab, Gene Poole), and had featured tracks on Industrial Warfare (volume six of the legendary Headshots four-track cassette series). For Atmosphere, 1998 was a year of collaborations (including recording Deep Puddle Dynamics) and a year well spent crafting their live performance at venues like First Avenue’s 7th Street Entry.