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with special guests:
Murs, Brother Ali, Mac Lethal, Blueprint, and DeeJayBird

city: Madison, WI
venue: The Orpheum Theatre
show date: 09.08.02

Tighter Than Britney Spears' Pants
by: carmela wiese

Bringing to Madison one of the best hip-hop shows it has ever hosted (partially due to the crowd who had been starving for a show that broke away from the standard jam bands or garage rock shows they have been accustomed to seeing), Atmosphere and friends were in control at the Orpheum Theatre Sunday night. With explosive, vivid, and heavy lyrics Slug, Murs, Blueprint, and crew gave us all a taste of what the urban genre is all about.

The evening started out with Mac Lethal warming the crowd. It was soon apparent that the cane wielding Kansas City native was no amateur. With songs like “My Mom Izza Thug”, a tribute to his mother’s bad-ass nature and his interpretation of the events on September 11th “Midnight in Manhattan” (said with his middle finger blazing screaming “fuck the establishment”), Mac set the tone for the rest of the evening.

Mac Lethal

This opening set also featured the beginning of UW Madison’s alumni Jake Keeler’s live painting. Working in tandem with the music, the studio artist proceeded to gain inspiration from the lyrical poetry being broadcasted and transferred it onto canvas.

The next set was from Brother Ali. Accompanied by his DJ BK1, Ali quickly won us all over flirting with girls in the audience, his flow about a rejected lover and his vengeance for an ex stating “If I can't have you no one will”. He also told his story about near hits with “You Win Some, You Lose Some”. The 45-minute set was completed with Ali’s freestyle and beatboxing.


With the anticipation rising for Atmosphere to step on stage, Murs of the famed Living Legends appeared stating that he doesn’t like to rap, but rather prefers to talk to the audience. He started out by mentioning the God Loves Ugly tour was originally dubbed the “You All Are The Reason Our Girlfriends Have Left Us” tour. But then quickly stated that it couldn’t be so, since his girlfriend had in fact already left him prior to the start up of the tour. Complete with costume changes (stripping off layers
of t-shirts he was wearing), Murs’s set was topped off with an impromptu battle with an unknown audience member “B Pure."

It was during Murs’s set that Atmosphere’s DJ, Mr. Dibbs, arrived at the turn-tables ready to produce the beats that landed him on tour with Atmosphere. With his allotted 45 minutes up, Murs headed off stage leaving Dibbs to continue working the tables in preparation for Atmosphere’s set.

Finally, after much anticipation, headliner Atmosphere and friend Blueprint (of the up-and-coming Soul Position) took the stage with an outburst of force. With his presence commanding attention, Slug quickly got down to business spouting out lyrics from one of their more widely known tracks “God’s Bathroom Floor”. Quickly shifting to a track off of their new album, we were treated to a live rendition of ‘Modern Man’s Hustle”.

Moving on with other much loved songs such as “The Lady With The Tattooed Hands”, “Fuck You Lucy” and “Scapegoat” it was soon clear that Slug’s onstage performance strongly outweighs his pre-recorded sound. It was evident this was due to him feeding off of the energy given off by the multitude of fans who showed up that night, both being completely enthralled in the moment.

After stepping off stage after what seemed to be a brief encounter, Atmosphere returned for the obligatory encore. But instead of the standard farewell song, we were treated to a collage of free style capabilities delivered by all of the night’s performers.

Hip-hop heads looking for a show to satisfy their appetites couldn't hoped for a better show.
10-Sep-2002 10:00 PM

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