Music / Atmosphere

Atmosphere is an American Hip-Hop duo from Minneapolis, Minnesota. It's composed of rapper Slug and producer Ant. The group initially began with another rapper, Spawn, who ended up leaving after the first album. The group was a duo for many albums afterwards, though recently they've incorporated a keyboardist and a guitarist.

Slug puts a lot of emphasis on storytelling, via strong lyricism. Though his earlier albums are seen as angsty and confessional (tending to be personal or introspective reflections), later works contain a variety of complex narratives about diverse people, such as a waitress who gets revenge on her now homeless father ("The Waitress") and a young girl who escapes an abusive father through music ("In Her Music Box").

Major releases so far

  • Overcast (1997) - Their first major release. Notable for featuring rapper Spawn, who left the group after this album.
  • Lucy Ford: The Atmosphere EPs (2001) - A compilation of two EPs (Lucy and Ford). Also notable for featuring production work by other producers aside from Ant.
  • God Loves Ugly (2002)
  • Seven's Travels (2003)
  • Headshots: SE7EN (2005) - A compilation of early material.
  • You Can't Imagine How Much Fun We're Having (2005)
  • When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Shit Gold (2008) - The first album where actual instrumentation is incorporated. Two members of the touring band were essentially integrated into the group proper.
  • Leak at Will (2009)
  • To All My Friends, Blood Makes the Blade Holy (2009) - Another compilation of EPs, similar to Lucy Ford.
  • The Family Sign (2011)

There is also a ton of additional material out there, such as the Bad Dub mixtape series and various bootleg compilations.

Tropes that apply to Atmosphere

  • An Aesop: "The Rooster" and "The Waitress"
  • Album Title Drop: "Something So" from The Family Sign has the line "Now everybody hold up the family sign"
  • Animated Music Video: For "God Loves Ugly"
  • Breakthrough Hit: The song "Scapegoat" from Overcast! was this in many ways. Lampshaded on the How We Got Here song "Road To The Riches", where Slug admits he got lucky.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: "Don't Ever Fucking Question That"
  • Creator Backlash: Slug has said that "Trying to Find a Balance" is "the one I hate performing the most, but everybody loves it."
    • He and Ant also disliked the way Sad Clown Bad Dub 2 turned out, which was originally going to be a different full-length album. They decided to release it as part of the limited-print Sad Clown series so that it wouldn't be a main release.
  • Domestic Abuse: The song "The Last To Say" from The Family Sign album
  • The Ending Changes Everything: In "Yesterday". The song initially seems like it's about an ex-girlfriend, which makes sense considering Slug's past songs, but the ending of the last verse reveals that it's actually about a father who's passed away.
  • Misplaced Sorrow: In "Superman", after the protagonist in the song accidentally kills an acquaintance via super-powered fist bump. In the background you can hear a friend lamenting the death, but then saying "that dude owed me, like, five dollars...why you gotta kill him man?"
  • Ode to Intoxication: "The Things That Hate Us". Lampshaded by "Hah, This One Is About Alcohol Too". "Pour Me Another" is an aversion, in the sense that it is about the dangers of intoxication. "Feel Good Hit Of The Summer 2" is a subversion, praising certain drugs but condemning others, and ending with the line "please stop pretending that it makes better music".
  • Old Shame: Slug has gone on record criticizing their first album, Overcast!. In his own words, "It's obvious that Iím trying so fucking hard on Overcast and you can see through it and tell it's not a person it's more of an attempt at trying to fill the niche, it was like I was trying to prove to myself that I was a rapper."
  • Sad Clown: The Bad Dub mixtape series often has "Sad Clown" in the title of the release. The album art often has images of sad clowns as well.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: In both "Hair" and "Scalp", which end in the protagonist of the song suddenly dying in a car wreck at the end.
    • These two songs actually end with the same car wreck, they are just told from two different points of view.
  • Shout-Out: "Millie Fell Off The Fire Escape" is an homage to De La Soul's "Millie Pulled A Pistol On Santa." Also "Feel Good Hit Of The Summer 2" is an homage to "Feel Good Hit Of The Summer" by Queens of the Stone Age. "Lifter Puller" is a shout-out to the band of the same name, fellow Minneapolis natives and mutual fans, who later became The Hold Steady.
  • Theme Naming: The Bad Dub mixtapes are usually titled with some variation of "Sad Clown"