The duo known as Atmosphere -- featuring the RZA-esque production of Anthony "Ant" Davis and the self-deprecating lyrics of Sean "Slug" Daley -- sits at the center of the Minneapolis-based Rhymesayers' collective. Proudly shouting out DJ Run, Kool G Rap and KRS-One on 2005's You Can't Imagine How Much Fun We're Having, Atmosphere gleefully proclaims its allegiance to the old school while pushing boundaries with inventive production and introspective rhymes. Slug spits bile about bitter romances, his difficult family life and even a murder that occurred at a 2003 Atmosphere show, while Ant cobbles together a complex amalgam of samples and grooves. The two recently explained why they owe their success to stolen records, Morris Day and cunnilingus.
Westword: Do you remember the first record you ever bought?
Slug: When I started showing interest in my mom's Roxy Music or Kool and the Gang records, she told me I could use my allowance to pick out stuff. The first week we initiated that, it was a 45 for Run-DMC's "30 Days" and the Time's "Ice Cream Castles."
With Los Nativos and Brother Ali, 8 p.m. Monday, May 8, Boulder Theater, 2032 14th Street, Boulder, $25, 303-786-7030
Word. If Morris Day, Big Daddy Kane and Grace Slick had a baby.... I was kind of a pretty boy. I even used to wear slacks to school, on some player shit. Do you remember when you were in school, and some girl became known as the girl that sucked everybody's dick? Well, I was the male version. I was a lot of girls' first oral experience -- not because I was good, but just because I was down to do it. Now that I look back on it, it's pretty fucked up, because I've got a son who's going to high school soon.
Ant: My first record might have been the Crash Crew, but I sometimes get fuzzy, because that was like '82. Maybe it was Sugar Hill Gang. My dad had turntables from the disco era. In '79 or '80, he had these disco records, but he didn't really care for rap. He'd get a couple of the hits, and I'd steal them.
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How did you two get together?
A: In '94 or '95, I was working with an artist called Beyond, and Slug would come by the house and try to rap. I saw his ambition was better than most, and he was smarter than everybody else. I wasn't big on his skills, but I figured that in time -- and I think he felt the same about me. I think we had the same goals.
And what are your goals today?
S: I'm trying to get some sponsorship. I break way too many mikes. Come on, Shure! I'll wear your T-shirts; put me in the ad. Say the word, FedEx! I'll wear one of your coats on stage. I'm not even asking for money, just like $1,500 in shipping credits. I'll never do anything for Sprite, but I'll do anything Mac wants me to do. I'll call my next record FedEx Shure or FedEx Me an Apple. Just hook a brother up!