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Hip-hop outfit and Rhymesayers label heads Atmosphere represent the Twin Cities with introspective rhymes, inventive storytelling, and classic production, building a devoted grassroots following with prolific output, collaborations, and consistent touring. They debuted as a trio on 1997's Overcast! before continuing into the 2000s as the core duo of rapper Slug and producer Ant. Steadily rising on the charts with each release, the pair hit a peak in 2008 with fifth full-length When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Shit Gold, which landed at number five upon release. 2014's Southsiders continued their success in the U.S., while marking Atmosphere's debut on the U.K. charts. In 2016, they issued their eighth album, Fishing Blues, their second to top the U.S. indie chart. As co-founders of Rhymesayers, they are also affiliated with a roster of like-minded hip-hop acts and curators of the annual Minneapolis music festival, Soundset. Over the majority of the duo's career, Atmosphere centered around rapper Slug (born Sean Daley) and Ant (born Anthony Davis). As a teenager, Slug became entranced with hip-hop, graffiti, and breakdancing, forming the Rhymesayers label and collective (originally known as Headshots) with two high-school friends Siddiq Ali (Stress) and Derek Turner (Spawn). After some early gigs as Urban Atmosphere -- where Slug DJ'ed behind Spawn's rhyming -- the pair hooked up with producer Ant, as well as like-minded locals such as MC Musab, Mr. Gene Poole, and the Abstract Pack, forming an underground hip-hop clique dedicated to freestyling and clever lyricism. In 1997, Atmosphere released their debut album, Overcast!, which quickly became regarded as an underground hip-hop classic thanks to Slug's deeply personal, poetic musings, as well as Ant's bare-bones -- but inventive -- production. Following Atmosphere's involvement with supergroup the Dynospectrum (who released a self-titled album on Rhymesayers in 1998) and Slug's participation in another supergroup, Anticon's Deep Puddle Dynamics (whose full-length The Taste of Rain...Why Kneel appeared in 1999), the next Atmosphere album was a 1999 cassette called Headshots: Se7en. The group also began a series of limited releases (often sold exclusively on tour) titled Sad Clown Bad Dub, beginning with an extremely scarce 1999 cassette. A year later, Atmosphere (then down to the duo of Slug and Ant) released the Ford One and Ford Two EPs, followed by the Lucy EP in 2001. Collected as the 2001 full-length Lucy Ford: The Atmosphere EPs, the three EPs were built around the theme of Slug's complicated relationship with his ex-girlfriend, the lost love of his life. As Atmosphere's following increased beyond underground hip-hop circles, they toured consistently, both at home and overseas; while Ant usually didn't accompany the group on the road, Mr. Dibbs of the group 1200 Hobos often joined in behind the turntables while Slug was assisted on the mike by young rappers like the teenaged Eyedea. In June 2002, Atmosphere unleashed God Loves Ugly, an 18-track effort that returned to previous themes ("F*@k You Lucy"), but also contained the group's most pop-friendly single to date, "Modern Man's Hustle." By this time indie rap superstars, Atmosphere returned with their fourth album, Seven's Travels, in 2003, followed two years later by You Can't Imagine How Much Fun We're Having. Following the album's success, Ant began regularly touring with the group. They continued to put music out during the next couple of years, including the free download Strictly Leakage in late 2007, a near-party album that they followed up with When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Shit Gold in April 2008. The record featured plenty of live instrumentation and guest background vocal spots from Tom Waits and TV on the Radio's Tunde Adebimpe; it was also their highest-charting album, hitting number five on the Billboard 200. The "double EP" To All My Friends: Blood Makes the Blade Holy appeared in 2010, with the full-length album The Family Sign following in 2011. In 2014 the group released the album Southsiders, which featured the single "Bitter." The following year, Atmosphere celebrated the ten-year anniversary of You Can't Imagine How Much Fun We're Having by reissuing the album as a four-LP set (including instrumental versions of all the album's songs), in addition to The Fun EP, a picture-disc vinyl issue of an EP of You Can't Imagine outtakes that was originally released as a promo CD in 2006. In 2016 they returned with Fishing Blues, an album that featured the single "Ringo" along with guest appearances from MF Doom, Kool Keith, and Aesop Rock. While the set peaked just outside the Top 20 on the Billboard 200, it became their second album to top the U.S. indie chart. Mi Vida Local, an urgent reflection on middle-aged life, appeared in 2018. ~ Dan LeRoy
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Top Tracks

  1.   Track
  2.   You
  3.   She's Enough
  4.   Modern Man's Hustle
  5.   Trying to Find a Balance
  6.   Sunshine
  7.   Yesterday
  8.   Just for Show
  9.   Sound Is Vibration
  10.   Little Man
  11.   Smart Went Crazy
  12.   The Last to Say
  13.   Watch Out
  14.   Kanye West
  15.   Party for the Fight To Write
  16.   Scapegoat
  17.   Fireflies
  18.   Delicate
  19.   Virgo
  20.   Multiples (Reprise)
  21.   Make It All Better Again
  22.   Sugar
  23.   My Best Half
  24.   Mijo
  25.   Specificity
  26.   Trim
  27.   The Waitress
  28.   The Best Day
  29.   Shoulda Known
  30.   That Night
  31.   Godlovesugly
  32.   Your Glass House
  33.   Say Hey There
  34.   Freefallin'
  35.   Guarantees
  36.   Ringo
  37.   My Songs
  38.   Current Status by Beyond
  39.   My Notes
  40.   Puppets
  41.   Always Coming Back Home To You
  42.   Nothing But Sunshine
  43.   The Woman With the Tattooed Hands
  44.   Suicidegirls
  45.   Between the Lines
  46.   Still Be Here
  47.   I Don't Need No Fancy Shit
  48.   Dmfd
  49.   Bob Seger
  50.   Ain't Nobody
  51.   Dungeons and Dragons by Musab
  52.   Lyle Lovette
  53.   1597
  54.   Lost and Found
  55.   Guns and Cigarettes
  56.   Lovelife
  57.   Saves the Day
  58.   Tracksmart
  59.   Drown
  60.   Drown by Cashinova
  61.   Stopwatch
  62.   Like a Fire
  63.   Trying To Find Balance
  64.   She Don't Know Why She Love It
  65.   Mrs. Interpret
  66.   Became
  67.   Advanced Communications
  68.   Shoes
  69.   Breathing
  70.   The Jackpot/Swept Away
  71.   Onemosphere
  72.   Graffiti
  73.   Randy Mosh by The Dynospectrum
  74.   Earring by Musab
  75.   Anymore
  76.   Jerome
  77.   Untitled
  78.   When the Lights Go Out
  79.   A Long Hello
  80.   Anybody That I've Known
  81.   No Biggie
  82.   The Shit That We've Been Through
  83.   Next to You
  84.   Perfect
  85.   Pure Evil
  86.   Salma Hayek
  87.   Revival
  88.   This Lonely Rose featuring Aesop Rock
  89.   Prelude to Hell
  90.   Idiot
  91.   Hell
  92.   We Ain't Gonna Die Today
  93.   Fortunate
  94.   I Love You Like a Brother
  95.   Arthur's Song
  96.   Bitter
  97.   Knock Knock Joke 2
  98.   A Song We Made With Sage
  99.   Quiet Pimpin'
  100.   On the Battlefield
  101.   Cut You Down
  102.   Millennium Dodo 2
  103.   Something So
  104.   Millennium Dodo
  105.   Until the Nipples Gone
  106.   The Number None
  107.   The Major Leagues
  108.   The Loser Wins
  109.   Shotgun
  110.   Love Is A Pimp
  111.   Not Another Day
  112.   Happymess
  113.   Good Daddy
  114.   In Her Music Box