Funny how time flies by. Already it is eleven long hip-hop years since Minneapolis, Minnesota hip-hop duo Atmosphere, comprised of producer Ant and emcee Slug (L-R in photo left), responsible for putting the Twin Cities firmly on the hip-hop map, dropped their debut album, 1997's Overcast!.
Last Tuesday they dropped their fifth studio album (and finest release to date): When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Shit Gold on Rhymesayers Entertainment.
As you can imagine with this brand new album just dropping, both members of Atmosphere are pretty busy, caught up in their current tour which hits LA and San Francisco next week. They will stay that way for much of the year as they promote this new release. But in the past few days I had the opportunity to catch up with Slug, via email, to ask him about hip-hop, the new album, the word on a future Felt (with MURS) album, and how it feels to be going strong eleven long hip-hop years later. Did he ever envision himself being where he is now in his career? "Ha. Yeah. I think our expiration date was somewhere in 2002 but I'm not complaining," he replied. "I'll keep going 'til I get fired or replaced by a younger stronger, more attractive idiot."
"Our approach musically was different. We wanted to find a bigger but more minimal sound for this album," he says of how When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Shit Gold is unlike previous Atmosphere releases, adding that, "Lyrically, I wanted to write about other people's problems for once." The new 15 track album (avail in two different packaged CD versions) is rich in ever-engaging, flawed character driven, tales, many tackling the issues of parenthood, like "In Her Music Box" and "Shoulda Known." In the latter song Slug raps: