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