Atmosphere

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Winning Nomination

Ten years ago, a record label was formed in Minneapolis around a small underground hip-hop group named Atmosphere. Consisting of Slug, writer and wrapper, and Ant, producer, Atmosphere has grown beyond the borders of our state and is quickly becoming a nationally recognized group. Rhymesayers, the record label, is also nationally recognized. It could be argued that Atmosphere has helped put Minneapolis and Minnesota on the map for music along with such influential artists like Prince or Bob Dylan. Whether it be rapping about familiar areas like Uptown or even the chain of lakes, Atmosphere blends smart, provocative lyrics that never delve into the world of mainstream rap which seems to be more focused on material things.

I think that Atmosphere truly represents the people and culture of our state, not only for mentioning the Minneapolis area, but because of the hard work and dedication that this group and Rhymesayers has put forth that is now being recognized all over the country while still being a very humble operation. Atmosphere continues to transform the underground hip-hop scene, which the mainstream artists are now looking at for inspiration, which will, in turn, continue to transform popular music as we know it. Whoever passes up Minnesota or Minneapolis as just another midwestern state better take a closer look, because as Slug puts it, "Minnesota is dope, if not for what we have but for what we don't...so if the people laugh and giggle when you tell them where you're from, say shh!"
~Ben Heinemann, Hopkins, MN


Contents

History

Minnesota gets a whole new reputation

Sean Daley grew up in south Minneapolis, a quiet, unusually articulate kid who used to practice his dance moves in his back yard. When Sean was eleven, his dad convinced him to enter a break-dancing competition. "Here's a kid who didn't want to be in the public eye at all," remembers his dad. "He didn't do that well, but he liked it. From then on, some of his introvertedness dissipated."

Boy, did it ever. Today, Sean Daley is known to his fans as Slug, front man for the hot hip-hop group Atmosphere. Recording on the local Rhymesayers label, Atmosphere has released a slew of CDs and made several national tours, all the while building a loyal fan base drawn to the group's charismatic leader and his soulful, intensely personal lyrics. Rhymesayers and Atmosphere have been instrumental in positioning Minnesota as underground hip-hop central. Minnesota? Cold, snow-white Minnesota? "It's not one of the first places you think of in hip-hop," says Seth Riddle, a talent scout for Rough Trade Records. "But Rhymesayers has definitely established it on the map."

Slug and Atmosphere produce what's becoming known in their industry as "conscious hip-hop." They focus on social issues-the economy, aversion to violence, religion. Slug's music is often introspective and grounded in his own experiences as well. He once ended a concert by thanking his audience for "letting me deal with my personal shit in public. Those of you that know me know this is something I do all the time."

For many fans, including nominator Ben Heinemann, Atmosphere's music is also appealing because the band has stayed close to its roots, sticking with the local Rhymesayers label and writing songs steeped in Minnesota culture. "Atmosphere is using hip-hop as a tool for inspiration that we as Minnesotans should be very proud of," writes Heinemann. "'Shhh' pretty much says that Slug will always remember where he is from and how that has shaped his life and his music."

"So, if the people laugh and giggle when you tell 'em where you live
Say 'Shhh!' Say 'Shhh!'
And, if you know this is where you wanna raise your kids
Say 'Shhh!' Say 'Shhh!'
If you're from the Midwest, and it doesn't matter where
Say 'Shhh!' Say 'Shhh!'
If you can drink tap water and breathe the air
Say 'Shhh!' Say 'Shhh!'
"Shhh," from the album Seven's Travels

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Share your memories

It is great that you have this about atomosphere in here. They are one of the best hip hop groups all over the country and are apart of what the younger generations important thing of minnesota!!!!!!!

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