Atmosphere Review

Posted by on Nov 8, 2008 in Uncategorized | 2 comments

Forgive me. It is midnight. I’ve had a few beers, and I am still on that post-show high. Tonight was a different experience for me. I’ve never been to a hip hop show before, and after tonight I can say I wouldn’t mind going to another.

For those of you who don’t know him, Atmosphere is an Indie Hip-Hop artist who’s been making rounds throughout the nation and now the world for the past 11 years. He’s a Midwest man who grew up in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Rolling Stone once called him a “Minneapolis Indie rap hero” but his style not only stems from rap, it also pulls from many genres. He doesn’t just spit words over electronic beats; he fuses them with guitar and piano producing a hot mixture of rock, some jazz, and a touch of blues. He’s helped out by a female voice rapping along with him or hitting some melodies, making the whole sound a truly unique mesh. If you think this is what you are going to get on B96 or KISSFM between Flo Rida and JayZ, you’re way off track. Yes, he’s a white rapper, but don’t throw him in with Eminem. The lyrics are smart, and they make you listen just a little closer while your bobbin your head and hanging your hand out of the car window.

Currently Atmosphere and his retinue of artists are bouncing around the states, half with the Paint The Nation Tour, and half on his own. Tonight I managed to catch him in his home town, and everyone came out to show the love. Standing in line, I found out people had bought tickets months ahead of time for this sold out show I was bribing myself into.

I walked into a packed house dancing to DJ Rare Groove, who handled the mixing for the next two artists, Abstract Rude and BluePrint.

One thing I have to say about Abstract Rude, he had one of the more entertaining songs moves of the evening. From his song where he had the crowd yelling “Mike Tyson!” to his karate kicks as he ran from one side of the stage to other, he had the audience going. I had no idea who this guy was, but I won’t be forgetting him any time soon.

BluePrint showed up next. From the talk going on around me, he seemed to be pretty well known around the cities. While I liked his songs, I had a hard time getting into his performance. Unlike Abstract Rude, who seemed like he was on excessive amounts of caffeine (not that I’m complaining), BluePrint had a three foot radius and mostly stood there waving his hand. He did, however, redeem himself with the song “Big Girls Need Love Too”, which had me near hysterics.

When Atmosphere hit the stage though, the place erupted with energy. He kicked off the night with “Self Hate (get heaven ready)” and moved into “In Her Music Box”, the song that started his newly released album “When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Shit Gold”. He spent the beginning of his set playing songs from the new album, but in the middle got into some of that good old stuff you like to hear when you hit up a show, the stuff that you’ve listened to way too many times and can break out in a cappella. Covered in sweat, and not even close to the finish, everyone left the stage except for a lone guitar  for an acoustic version of “Not Another Day”. Everyone who had a lighter held it in the air and I had flashbacks of every 80’s band I have ever seen…not that that stopped me from joining in. The night ended with a version of “Smart Went Crazy”, where he pulled Blue Print and a friend named J-Bird on stage for some “Smart Went Freestyling”. I’m amazed every time I hear good freestyling. So much of what we see and hear has been practiced, nit picked and made perfect. As a person in the creative industry, I spend hours on crafting a sentence for a billboard and making each word perfect. Forget rhyming. Good freestyle is an incredible talent that has me every time.

Needless to say, though I’ll say it anyway, the show was fantastic. Atmosphere and the Paint The Nation Tour will be hitting the Vic in Chicago on November 16th. If it isn’t sold out, I highly recommend attendance. If it is sold out…I bribed my way into a sold out concert in his home town. You can get in too. He’ll be back in Minneapolis for another sold out show on the 17. My partner in crime from the show tonight is already scheming for tickets to see him again. Check it out: