Voodoo Rooms, Edinburgh, Tue 17 Jun
No matter how tired commercial hip hop becomes there’s always a smattering of inspirational characters to breathe some life into the scene. Innovators like MF Doom, Madlib and Shape of Broad Minds keep us on our toes, and so too do Atmosphere, a Minneapolis duo pushing out a strain of hip hop with real substance, in both the production and lyrical departments.
Slug and Ant are in Scotland for the first time. Slug describes Atmosphere’s music as ‘like chewing on rubber bands, and spreading frosting’, but in truth it’s way more accessible than he claims. He appears to be keeping expectations at a minimum too. ‘I just wanna make people smile and have some fun,’ he says.
So what should you expect when you go see Atmosphere? Slug again prefers to keep his cards close to his chest. ‘I don’t know how to answer that. There will be no nudity though.’
They’re known for their more experimental and somewhat unconventional approach to hip hop yet their latest album When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Shit Gold is more accessible. Why?
‘The new album is simply the stuff that’s on my mind this year. No intentional moves but upwards, and progress.’ What about the children’s story book in the album? Is this an alternative career for when they become uncool? ‘Nope. We are already uncool. That’s why we make music. We are nerds in every sense.’
Atmosphere may seem a breath of fresh air but seem unwilling to delve beyond the surface about hip hop culture, a notion furthered when Slug is pressed on what defines his band within a scene that is notoriously materialistic and shallow.
‘I don’t resent any scene within hip hop. I love hip hop like a brother. Sometimes he’s ugly, other times he’s smart, but no matter what, he’s always they’re for me. I don’t get mad at anyone who makes music. It’s a waste of my anger. There are so many more progressive things for me to be angry at.’