In the 20 years since Overcast!, Atmosphere has toured relentlessly, recorded and released hundreds of tracks, and still manage to draw new fans. Between Slug’s self-deprecating rap style and Ant’s unique production style, Atmosphere manages to kick rap stereotypes in the dick while simultaneously being beloved by Hip Hop heads. Probably because their live show leaves nothing to be desired.
As we arrived for the sold out show at the Fox Theater in Pomona, CA, the line to get in snaked around the block. Instead of waiting for security to find their groove in searching thousands of concert-goers, we made a pit stop at Homage Brewing, right across the street. An hour, fantastic IPA (Nosedive), and an amazing Belgian (their Discovery) later, we made our way back to find the line was ONLY two blocks long now.
While missing the opener (sorrrrrryyyy!), we did catch the set of ZULUZULUU. Let me be clear here, ZULUZULUU ARE LEGIT. Mixing equal parts of Fela Kuti’s syncopated Afrobeat and Bernie Worrell’s synthy goodness, and spreading vocal duties among the plethora of musicians, ZULUZULUU put on one helluva show. From deeply funky slow jam “What’s The Price,” to the Parliment-inspired jam “Fall Behind,” ZULUZULUU bring the party and I was thrilled to have been invited.
After a quick changeover, Ant (and another producer I don’t know) sets up and upped this shit to another level. The second Slug slips out from stage right, the packed house lost their fucking minds, singing along to each word like they wrote the songs themselves.
Moving deftly from tracks new and old, Slug & team hit the crowd with a ferocious energy, like they were looking to prove themselves for the first time. Rapping about everything from the shittiest side effects of drug use to his oft disreputable relationships with women, Slug laid out his own humanity, with all the flaws and imperfections that come along with it. There was no need for shitty club hooks or claims of being the best at God-knows-what.
I don’t know what else to say other than implore you, the next time you see Atmosphere playing a city near you, go.