Yeah, I'm a sucka. I'm suceptible to fandom, sometimes obsession. It's not idolization, but it's an appreciation. And I travel far and wide to see these guys. It started back in, uh, 1999 when I bought a CD called Anticon: Music for the Advancement of Hip Hop. On that CD was a track by an individual named "Slug" called "Nothing But Sunshine!" I continued putting that song on every mixtape I could cram it on and played it for every set of ears that I could. I would quickly find that this "Slug" was a member of a crew called Atmosphere from Minnesota.
Eager to find more, but unable to do so. I scoured the internet looking for live performances so I could see Slug or Atmosphere in person. First time I would see Atmosphere would be in Austin at Emo's--a hip hop hot spot in Austin. I believe it was 2001. That night, the fan was born.
I would do everything I could to locate their music and, in 2002, with the assistance of Fat Beats, they would release their first properly distributed record, God Loves Ugly. I remember that my store didn't even receive a copy, in fact, no one in my town did. I had to special order it. It was my goal as a music buyer that no one would ever have to special order an Atmosphere release. I know it sounds corny, but it's true. I felt strongly that Atmosphere was the type of hip hop that more people needed to hear and I was going to facilitate that.
Once I found a desk up at corporate, I began the search for the first two Atmosphere records through Rhymesayers Entertainment: Lucy Ford and Overcast. Rhymesayers still had no distribution at that time. I remember asking distributor after distributor for Atmosphere records and having to clarify that they weren't "relaxation" records. I first found their product through an outfit out of Kansas City called Harvest Media (now no longer in business) and then I brought it in through Super D out on the West Coast. Sales were moderate, but nothing huge. I figured, though, that selling one out of 100 was a success.
It would be not much longer when I would see Seven's Travel show up in a Navarre book. Now, they got that proper distribution. Minneapolis-based Navarre would be the perfect match for Atmosphere and Rhymesayers being hometown boys. Their catalog and other Rhymesayer artists would soon become available through Navarre and, almost overnight, Lucy Ford was showing up in Best Buy.
I would continue to see Atmosphere any chance I could. I've seen them in Dallas twice. Denton once (dope show). Albuquerque once. Santa Fe once. Austin thrice. And now, for the first time, I'll be able to spare myself the four hour road trip (or more) and, instead, I'll be heading just down the road to my hometown of Lubbock for an Atmosphere show tonight at Jakes.
Why it's taken so long for them to come to Lubbock, I'm not sure. Will they ever come back? Well, I suppose we'll know after tonight. But I'll be there and I'm coming with a squad--Danny, Lee, Tim, Mick, Cody, Mayhem, TJ, David, Chrissy, Sam--aw yeah. It's on. Elders and Harley, I guess we'll catch a show some other time.
Atmosphere. In Lubbock. Tonight. Doors at 8PM. If you're within three hours of Lubbock, you have no excuse. I know this because there's nothing exciting within three hours of Lubbock.
Don't be a punk. Go listen to some Atmosphere today.