Atmosphere: Two Decades Of Dopeness

Slug of veteran group Atmosphere sits down with AllHipHop to break down the group's legendary career.

(AllHipHop News) Atmosphere will forever remain one of the GOAT’s of hip-hop. Comprised of Slug and Ant, the rap duo continues to tour, and continues to create records that the hip-hop community can’t help but gravitate toward.

AllHipHop caught up with Slug to discuss their legacy in the rap game, this new age of streaming, and a possible collab with Murs.

Fans can check out Atmosphere’s seventh studio album titled Mi Vida Local which was released on October 5.

AllHipHop: You guys are definitely the pioneers of the independent. How do you stay relevant yourselves to stay relevant?

Slug: For starters, I wouldn’t say we were the pioneers. There were plenty before us that were killing it. I would even say Boot Camp Clik created a little bit of a model that we were able to follow. I would say the way Wu-Tang approached making music was the same mindstate of what we consider indie rap now. It was kind of built on the Wu-Tang model as well. Even they had deals with majors. What they brought to the majors was an independent “f##k record label” mindstate. I wouldn’t say we invented anything or even reinvented anything, we just stood on the shoulders of the greats that came before us.

AllHipHop: How has streaming impacted your back catalog and revenue?

Slug: I don't really know yet. I haven’t really wrapped my head around that yet. I’ve been so busy, I haven’t paid much attention to it. I know money comes in, but it's not like the good ol’ days where you sold the CDs to somebody, and made an $8 profit when you put it in their hand. Now, it’s like you go out there and play shows, and those are the resources that we use to continue our work. The streaming revenue comes in, but it’s not making money. But you can't stream a T-shirt!

AllHipHop: As champions of the underground, do you guys still release vinyl and is it a strong driver of your sales?

Slug: We’ve never stopped making vinyl. In fact, we are consistently on a mission, or adventure as I like to say, to figure out how to create the perfect piece of vinyl. When you go to the vinyl pressing plants, they have different types of things they can offer you, as far as the quality, how you want the quality to be, or if you want color vinyl, crazy looking swirlies, what have you. I’ve found actually putting my own blood into the mixture has helped create a strong, warm sounding piece of vinyl.

AllHipHop: Like your actual blood?

Slug: Yeah. You cut your finger, and let your blood drip into the elixir.

AllHipHop: Coming from Minneapolis, what do you think of Prince’s death and how did his presence on the local scene influence you?

Slug: As far back as I can remember, his music and the music of his colleagues played a huge role in my childhood and early adult years. All the way to now even. I was a little shocked that he died. I didn’t realize that he could die so when he passed, I was in disbelief for a little while. But everything dies. It’s just what it is. I was in shock, I was sad — I don’t want to go overboard — but I don’t think you’ve ever met a bigger Prince fan than me. It was a big deal, but I was also at an age with a bunch of kids. You have to just keep it moving. The earth can't stand still.

AllHipHop: What does Atmosphere think of today’s production and sounds?

Slug: I can't speak for Anthony, but I’ll tell you what I think. The production and the sound, I’m into it. I like minor chords, I like minor keys. I like moody stuff. It seems like a lot of contemporary music is going in that direction. Even the party music is feeling moody, and I appreciate that. As far as the actual artists, MCs, and wordsmiths, I’m a fan of rap music that scares old white people. The fact that these kids are still scaring the shit out of old white people, I’m all for it. I think they’re doing their job.

AllHipHop: Who are some of your favorites right now?

Slug: Currently, one of my favorites is Ka. I also like Has-Lo. Obviously, the regular people that everyone loves. I love Kendrick. I’m a huge fan of Logic. When I was younger, I used to be more of a hater. I was very judgmental. Now, as long as you love what you do, then I love that you’re doing it. That's kind of what happens when you get older, you stop being so mad at the kids. Or maybe not. Maybe old people are supposed to get mad at the kids, maybe I’m doing it wrong. I’m definitely a lot more accepting of all of the branches of the tree, than I was when I was 25.

AllHipHop: Do you feel the game is more competitive now that people release records much faster?

Slug: I haven't really felt the competition this industry offers in a long time. I’m not really in touch with that side of it, because we’re not a new artists. We are now, what you might call, a legacy artist. We’ve been around long enough, where we don't have to compete with what the new guys are doing. I don't have to compete with what my peer group is doing. I just have to continue doing what I do. The only person I’m competing with now is myself.

AllHipHop: Why does it take 2 years for you guys to put out an album?

Slug: We tour a lot. So we put out a record, then we tour for 2 years off that record. Then we make more music in between tours. There’s not a whole lot MCs out there that tour as much as we do.

AllHipHop: How do you balance touring with family life?

Slug: It’s not easy. It’s probably the largest challenge I face. I don't know if I really have an answer for how to. You just gotta take it as it comes. Sometimes it's hard, sometimes it's not. Always though, both sides of the coin are validating. So I know these are good problems to have.

AllHipHop: Slug, are you ever going to collab with Murs again?

Slug: Oh God, I don’t know! If I say no, everybody thinks I’m an a##hole. If I say yes, then everybody is like, “Oh, when?!” Truth is, Murs and I never strategized, or intended to make music together. We only did it out of convenience and out of fun. So it’s a matter of when our schedules line up.

Slug: I’ll say this: if his schedule opens up and my schedule opens up at the same time, then that's when we make music. If you follow Murs’ career at all, you know he’s been incredibly busy doing incredible things. I can't wait around for his schedule to open up. I got to keep as busy as I can too. When the planets align and the stars turn blue, we’ll make a record.

AllHipHop: Is there anything else you want to let us know?

Slug: Buckle up for safety, eat your vegetables, brush your tongue. Indoor vertical farming is the future.

Comments (1)
No. 1-1

Hip hop is not dead. Would be cool if Slug put Brother Ali up there.