Critic's Choice

Atmosphere

At times, the proliferation of talented collectives in the underground is overwhelming, even for the hip-hop cognoscenti who devote the majority of their time to manning the radar stations. In the last few years, a staggering number of artists have dropped albums with depth, texture and clarity the mainstream acts couldn't begin to match, much less trump. And while the progenitors of the movement are many -- El-P, Living Legends, Aesop Rock, Dose One, Mr. Lif, Sole, MURS -- sadly, most of them will be relegated to boom-bap's nether regions without registering a single blip on the screen of the masses. However, one outfit hailing from Minneapolis has seen its stock continue to rise in the midst of a never-ending parade of cartoon characters from STL and ATL, not to mention a certain East Coast-based, bulletproof-vest-sportin' thug and his contingent. Atmosphere-- slated to appear at the Fillmore on Tuesday, September 30, with Micranots and Oddjobs -- is poised to break through with its lucid, cerebral brand of hip-hop. After being pursued by a slew of major labels, MC Slug and his cronies, beatmaster Ant and DJ Mr. Dibbs, have opted to remain independent. The crew licensed its new album, Seven's Travels, to the seminal punk imprint, Epitaph -- which might seem like an odd pairing at first. But given the trio's recent stint on this past summer's Vans Warped Tour -- a tour consisting of primarily punk bands -- and the ensemble's noted reputation as road dogs, it's not hard to believe they've found like-minded folks in that community. Indie hip-hop is the new punk rock, you know, and Atmosphere is the real deal. From over hurr, the rest is bullocks.

 
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