|Photos by Kim Douglass|
There are many genres where finding a good artist is kind of like finding a needle in a haystack - possible, but only after a long time of sifting to find exactly what you're looking for. In hip-hop, there's an artist for every fan. If you want good beats and nothing else, there's an artist for that. Lyrical depth, same. A guy who comes out with the party joint every year, yep. But some artists don't necessarily fit a mold; they just do what they do and you can either take it or leave it. Atmosphere is one of those artists.
Focusing less on machismo and how much more ballin' he is than the next guy, MC Slug comes at his fans with full force and honesty.
His life is an open book and all you have to do is read it, or in this case listen. In concert, he doesn't deviate from this practice, barely having to ask his audience to become more involved. Tuesday at Warehouse Live, they started singing his songs and dancing long before he did, allowing him to focus only on putting on a good show.
DJ Ant made some sick beats that had the audience moving, whether during an R&B jam with a drum-machine overlay or a homemade beat that went straight from his brain to ProTools. At one point, Aftermath saw a girl dry-humping her boyfriend during "Vanity Sick." Ironic, right?
However, the lyrical depth of each song could not be overlooked. When surveying the audience during songs, we saw a connection with between both MC Slug and Atmosphere and their fans because of his honesty. When rapping along with him, there was an obvious empathy in their eyes.
This is not something that is played to save a dying party or even the song you dance to at a traffic light. No, these are songs to describe the death of a loved one ("Yesterday") or the inability to move past an old lover ("Fuck You, Lucy"). Judging by the fans' reaction, Atmosphere's strategy of being the anti-gangsta rapper is working.
By the end of the night, many thoughts and memories had surfaced, all brought on by the various songs played, especially during "Your Glasshouse" and "God Loves Ugly." That's the thing about hip-hop - there's no skeletons in the closet that can't come out for a verse. Though Atmosphere has finished the encore and said goodnight to fans, it turned out to be a longer night than some of us originally planned.