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atmosphere

Sittin' Down With Slug
by: carmela wiese

We recently were lucky enough to talk to Slug, the frontman of Minneapolis Hip-Hop group, Atmosphere to find out what it's like to be at the start of what may just be something big. We met up with him just after Atmosphere's first show of their current tour - find out what he has to say...
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MC: That was a great show last night! Madison is always craving a good hip-hop show, since the music scene here is pretty much one-dimensional. How did you think it went?

We had a lot of fun…the crowd was way better than we were….

MC: What did you do to prepare for the tour?

I consumed a lot of beer and fast food. I would wake up after a binge with these guys and realize “Wow, I’m on tour!”

MC: So last night you were in Madison and tonight you all are playing in Iowa City. How do you unwind from the monotony of being on tour?

Uhm, well, Game Boy is always good, we have a mini DVD player in the van. Beer is a good way to unwind too. Oh, and making out with random girls.

MC: And right now on tour, it’s not just you, right? You all have a bunch of people on tour with you. How did you decide whom you wanted on tour with you?

Everyone I’m on tour with I’m friends with, but it’s different every tour. Right now I am at that stage where I’m not a huge name, but I’m not unknown either, so I can provide an opportunity for other artists that are as good as me or better but don’t have the opportunity to go on tour. I consider it manipulating the system. Except Murs who I made a album (Felt) with so it made sense for him to go on tour with us.

MC: You have been doing this for quite a while. How have things changed for you as far as your style goes?

I don’t know, I guess the way I view the industry. I used to be pessimistic and hate how things were, but now I don’t care. I just do what I want.

MC: I wanted to ask you how you felt about more popular TRL type hip-pop, like Ja Rule.

I’m fine with it. I used to be all about "fuck the mainstream," but now it’s not like that. If the beats are bad and the voice is bad and it’s detrimental to hip-hop then I won’t like it. But if the beats are good, and it sounds good, then it doesn’t matter. Ja Rule’s good at what he does. I just feel like hip-hop is a tree; I’m on one branch of it and he’s on another, but it’s all rooted in the same spot.

MC: When did you know that this is what you wanted to do this? Was there one defining moment, or was it more of a gradual process?

It was really a gradual process. I was never aspiring to become a famous rapper. When I was around 18 and got started I just did it for fun. I just consider myself a fan that took it to the next level.

MC: So, how & when did you hook up with the rest of the Rhyme Sayers crew?

I’m one of the four founders. We all grew up in the same area (south Minneapolis), so it made sense. We were all into the same music.

MC: So right now you are promoting your new album God Loves Ugly. How would you describe it?

It’s terrible, don’t buy it.

MC: How does it stand out from your previous albums?

It’s way better than the others.

MC: What’s your favorite track on the album?

“Modern Man’s Hustle”. It is as close to Billy Joel as I could get, set aside of course the different genres. The structure is the best as far as the verses go and the chorus is really catchy. It is the most correct as far as how music should be written

MC: Who are you listening to? What was the last that you bought?

Queens of the Stone Age, but I listen to really anything someone puts in. If there is one thing that I am listening to it is rock. But I don’t really enjoy music anymore. I really only listen to study it.

MC: Who were some of your musical influences when you were younger…?

Prince….

MC: Have you been to paisley park?

No I haven’t actually been to the studio, but I have been past it when I was a courier….

MC: What do you see as the best album of the year, besides yours of course?

That’s a good question. So far this year I would have to say Pigeon Jon. He’s from a group called the LA Symphony and his solo album is really good.

MC: Do you see anyone as an up & coming artist for people to look out for?

Aesop Rock and Soul Position, Blueprint’s group with RJD2. Those guys go way beyond underground hip-hop.

MC: If you were president, what would be the first thing that you would do?

I would copy Canada’s Health Care System.

MC: Any idea when you are going to be coming through Madison again?

I don’t know. Maybe this spring.

MC: Well, thanks for taking some time off to do this interview.

Yeah no, problem. Thanks for doing it.

MC: Good luck with the rest of the tour.

Thanks…have a great day.
10-Sep-2002 10:30 PM

Atmosphere - Live in Madison 09.08.02 (concert review)

Atmosphere - God Loves Ugly (album review)