In their 25-plus years as a duo, Atmosphere’s rapper Slug and producer Ant have built a legacy that is embedded in the fabric of underground hip-hop. Rising in the ranks of Minneapolis, their debut album, Overcast! was released in 1997. Presented as a flurry of vignettes, and paired with an unending touring schedule, the album was a springboard from which the group was able to become a fixture in the midwest music scene. It wasn’t long before their songwriting evolved from telling inventive third-person tales to delivering introspective first-person eviscerations, and by the early 2000’s Slug would jokingly birth the phrase “emo rap” in an interview before publications began running with the genre tag to describe them and others.
In the decades since their debut, Atmosphere has maintained a course of rigorous output, releasing over two dozen studio albums, EP’s and collaborative side projects in as many years. The venerated duo have built a legacy out of bringing honesty, humility and vulnerability to the forefront of their music. Slug has proven masterful at storytelling and writing compelling narratives, leaving a trail of his own influence while paying homage to the rappers and songwriters that helped shape him. Meanwhile, Ant has skillfully molded the soundtracks with inspiration from soul, funk, rock, reggae, and the wizardry of hip-hop’s pioneering DJ’s and producers, creating his own trademark sounds and providing the pulse for songs about life, love, stress and setbacks. At its essence, Atmosphere has been a musical shepherd, guiding generations of listeners through this thing called life.