Atmosphere

Early Show

Atmosphere

Brother Ali with Blank Tape Beloved, Attracted to Gods

Sat, May 16

7:00 pm

$25.00

Sold Out

Atmosphere - (Set time: 9:15 PM)
Atmosphere


Defining success is not an exact science by any means. In some ways, it’s especially difficult to quantify one’s success when they have a job that places them in the public eye, a position that is ripe for critique and high expectations. Perhaps those who best thrive in those scenarios are the ones who can navigate through all noise and continue to evolve and grow, both in their skill sets and as individuals.

In many ways, that is an integral part of the Atmosphere story. Over their twenty-year career they have managed to continually tweak and strive to perfect their formula, while neither straying too far off their path, nor resorting to playing it safe. Starting at 1997’s Overcast, the group’s first official album, and traveling through 18 years of new albums, side projects (e.g. the Sad Clown series and Felt), and various collaborations, all the way up until 2014’s Southsiders album, Atmosphere’s music has evolved in a way that differs from many of their peers and predecessors. A hard look at that evolution doesn’t reveal the commonalities of following trends or struggling to fit in, by either over-extending in an effort to stay cool to the younger generation, or succumbing to the pressure people tend to place on artists to maintain the same sound from album to album. Instead, the Atmosphere discography evolves in a natural way.

Musically, Ant has continued to define Atmosphere’s sound, ranging from a healthy mixture of upbeat and fun, to the oft more iconic, moody and personal. Through out the 1990s, Ant spent countless hours in his basement with a wealth of records, a keyboard sampler, a turntable and a 4-track, working with a who’s who of the Twin Cities’ Rap talent of that time. Those experiences tuned his ear, molded his work ethic, and shaped his vision. In turn, those lessons have continually become more prominent in the Atmosphere aesthetic, blending live musicians and sampled production with his keen sense of how to compose a well-arranged song.

As for the lyrics, Slug started his passion for rhyming with an obsessive-like penchant for the way words intersect, as well as how those words can be manipulated for unexpected and clever meanings. But, at the same time, early on Slug expressed an interest in doing more than simply proving he could be witty, but also writing about subjects that speak to people personally, as well as emotionally. These practices also naturally helped the Atmosphere fan base to expand beyond the usual independent Hip Hop audience, extending their reach to an alternative audience who also related to the personable appeal and emotional range of both Slug’s songwriting and Ant’s musical backdrops. Particularly, Slug has been consistently successful in leveraging his understanding for the power of words, recognizing that a song containing the right story or personal perspective can be extremely effective in capturing and holding the listener’s attention.

Undoubtedly, the impact of Atmosphere’s music has been the roots to their long-term success, but their continued rigorous touring and performance schedule has been the vessel for engraining these stories and the legacy of the music into their fan base. Early on in their careers, Atmosphere stepped beyond the genre lines and performed shows through out the Twin Cities with Rock bands, Punk Rock bands, and Jazz Ensembles. This was directly influenced by the fact that both of them were already fans of a wide range of music. Although this was a natural reaction to being a fan of the music, that experience also afforded Atmosphere, and their Rhymesayers peers, the opportunity to witness first-hand the D.I.Y ethos shared by some of these other musical movements. Atmosphere began to apply many of these tactics and work ethics to their growth, which was specifically influential in the development of Atmosphere’s approach to touring. These strategies found Atmosphere expanding their tours into cities that few, if any, Rap artists were including in their routing. The result is a storied connection between the artists and the listeners, which has grown into long-term Atmosphere fans passing down that experience to their children and so on, and thus continually ushering in a new generation of Atmosphere fans. Early on in their touring excursions, Atmosphere shows were noted in history for challenging the idea that Hip Hop audiences had to be filled exclusively with scowl-faced males fueled by ego and testosterone. Instead they created an environment that invited women to join in on the party. All of these factors have led to a fan base that ranges from ages 14-54 and beyond, and one that remains solid, as well as ever evolving.

As Atmosphere steps into their 21st year of making music, Slug & Ant show no signs of slowing, compromising or losing sight of their vision. Nor has time revealed any diminishing of those qualities that have brought them this far. As 2016 swung into gear, Atmosphere had already ended the previous year and led into another with a string of singles, and still have an abundance of music on the way, including their latest album, “Fishing Blues”. The title of the new album speaks directly to the sentiments that opened this bio; Is this the point in the career where Atmosphere chooses to step back, put up the Gone Fishin’ sign and reminisce about their successes? The answer, a resounding no, is found in the music, a collection of songs that both define and redefine the Atmosphere sound. Their passion and creative spark are as illuminate as ever. Slug and Ant still have plenty of stories to tell…
Brother Ali with Blank Tape Beloved - (Set time: 8:15 PM)
Brother Ali with Blank Tape Beloved
Fully recharged and inspired by his eye-opening first trip to Mecca, the 2011 uprisings in the Middle East, and the world wide Occupy movements, Brother Ali is prepared to unveil his fourth full-length offering Mourning in America and Dreaming in Color. Created during a self-imposed two-month exile in Seattle and helmed by platinum-selling producer Jake One (50 Cent, T.I., Wiz Khalifa), the album presents a scathing yet honest critique of America and its many flaws while simultaneously presenting a hopeful outlook of its possibilities. Preceded by the release of free music downloads with accompanying music videos such as “Shine On," "Writer’s Block,” and “Not A Day Goes By," Mourning in America and Dreaming in Color is the pièce de résistance.


In an age of hip-hop where the paradigm of swag over substance reigns supreme, few emcees are willing to use their platform to tackle the hot-button topics and pressing social maladies of our time - but it’s apparent that Minneapolis-based hip-hop artist Brother Ali is one of those few. Over the course of 14 tracks with assists from esteemed author/ professor Dr. Cornel West, revered Southern hip-hop icon Bun B, and Def Poetry Jam poet Amir Sulaiman, the album brazenly holds a mirror to the idiosyncrasies of American life while simultaneously painting a vibrant portrait of its wondrous potential. Actualizing hip-hop’s full range of motion as a gage for the times, Mourning In America and Dreaming In Color asserts itself as the definitive soundtrack of a disenchanted, disenfranchised, and wildly optimistic citizenry during a landmark period in American history. In a moment of artistic preemptive strike, Brother Ali recognized this prime opportunity to examine and address the underpinnings of the burgeoning stance of mass opposition:


“This is not just a new album, but a new chapter. There’s a kind of democratic reawakening in people at this point in time. I was really looking to take these topics and really hit them hard. To try to open ears and hearts and invite people to take some action and feel empowered. To be engaged and take some agency and responsibility for what’s going on in the world.”


Melding the zeitgeist of classic works such as Ice Cube’s critical 1991 album Death Certificate and Marvin Gaye’s 1971 sociopolitical opus What’s Goin’ On with his keen observations on topics such as race, the Occupy movement, and the hypocrisy of war, Brother Ali has crafted a fresh lyrical approach and dynamic new sound - the result is a stunning collection of hard-hitting lyrics and beats.


The state of the union address commences with “Letter To My Countrymen,” a spirited appeal to fellow Americans with a tailor made guest vocal from Cornel West. Brother Ali speaks on the institution of poverty on “Only Life I Know” while the quasi-autobiographical “Stop The Press” addresses his albinism, the death of his father, and his remarkable yet challenging journey through hip-hop. “Mourning In America,” in part the album’s title track, offers a brutally honest look at America’s convoluted and hypocritical relationship to murder. Featuring a searing verse from poet Amir Sulaiman, “Gather Round” is a battle cry to the masses to take an ardent interest in the social ills plaguing society. Brother Ali puts underemployment and hyper consumerism in the face of socioeconomic turmoil on blast on “Work Everyday.” “Need A Knot,” featuring the voice of Bun B, finds Brother Ali skillfully veiling a series of odd jobs in analogies of illegal hustles. “Namesake” is the seldom-told tale of a pre-fame Muhammad Ali – one of America’s most dynamic personas whom Brother Ali is also named after. The set ends with the outro “Singing This Song,” a track that showcases another one of Brother Ali’s passions – speaking engagements. The song features highlights of Ali's riveting public address at a mass demonstration demanding justice for Trayvon Martin.


Mourning in America and Dreaming in Color, in all its sonic and lyrical glory, promises to be both the voice of a burgeoning new critical American consciousness and the beacon of hope for those that hold fast to its ideals and potential.
Attracted to Gods - (Set time: 7:30 PM)
Attracted to Gods
Attracted to gods is anything they want it to be. From a guitar and drums duo to a three guitar full band onslaught!
Most of the members (Nate collis (guitar/vocals), Brett Johnson (Bass), Brian Mcleod (drums)) have been a part of the underground hip-hop group Atmosphere.
The music is dark and shows the heavy side to people vs. their inner struggle to be god like themselves. The words are not feel-good-lovey-dovey-save-the-day lyrics, instead they are a working class point of view on vengeance, murder, lust, and the ability to be ego driven and lost while maintaining a moonshine buzz.
Venue Information:
9:30 Club
815 V St. NW
Washington, DC, 20001
http://930.com