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ATMOSPHERE Interview: “As Long as This Music Continues to Challenge, Frighten and Frustrate Old People, it’s on the Right Path”

Minneapolis, MI-based hip-hop duo Atmosphere, today, released their new album Mi Vida Local via Rhymesayers Entertainment. We were lucky enough to chat with the group about music, hip-hop inspirations, L.L. Cool J, and more.



Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, put your hands together for the seriously dope, and mad long-standing hip-hop act that is Minneapolis, Minnesota-based duo, Atmosphere. The group is ready to strike back with a new studio album titled Mi Vida Local, released today via Rhymesayers Entertainment (stream or purchase right here). This, the follow-up to 2016’s Fishing Blues, is the ninth Atmosphere album and is one again set to showcase their exquisite talents.

Fans can expect to revel in this crafty new hip-hop release that falls nothing short of what the genre has to offer: An old sound with new language. A ‘90s spin, with a surge of 2018 glamour. Yes, it is a mix of the past with the present and possibly, a glimpse into the future. We were lucky enough to have spoken to this talented group about the origins of their moniker, their hip-hop inspirations, and how they collaborate so well with one another.

Where does the name Atmosphere come from and what does it signify for you?
Atmosphere: It comes from sitting around, with weed, trying to think of a cool name that doesn’t pigeon-hole you into a particular genre bucket. Unfortunately, it pigeon-holed us into a bucket of genre ambiguity. So, now people assume we make something called prom-core. Oops.

After listening to your music, I definitely get a strong classic hip-hop vibe. But I also hear touches of rock, folk, and jazz. How would you describe your music to a new listener? Do you draw any inspiration from non-hip-hop artists?
Atmosphere: That’s a loaded question. We are both well into our 40s and unashamed to listen to pretty much anything. Our range of influences are likely too wide and large to list them. But my personal favorites are Prince and L.L. Cool J.

Atmosphere have unveiled a totally rad Mi Vida Local full album stream. Check it!

On the flip-side, who are your hip-hop inspirations and what would be your dream musical collaboration?
Atmosphere: I would love to make a song with L.L. Cool J. My hip-hop influences are pretty much the standard for someone my age; L.L. Cool J, Melle Mel, Rakim, Big Daddy Kane, Slick Rick, KRS-ONE, M.C. Shan, M.C. Lyte, Posdnous, Eazy-E, Ice Cube, Prodigy, Black Thought. There are probably many I’m forgetting, but you get the picture.

You are one half of the hip-hop collective Felt, a collaboration with Murs. “Funeral for a Killer” (by Murs) is one of my favorite hip-hop songs of all time. What was it like to collaborate with him?
Atmosphere: He’s a pretty good rapper, but he’s a great friend. That’s what makes collaborating with him special.

You guys are such a dynamic pair with Ant handling the production and Slug dominating the mic. I know different groups create music differently, for example, Migos tend to work individually and then come together after to collaborate. What does your music making process look like?
Atmosphere: It’s exactly what people would likely imagine our process to look like. I wear a bathrobe over a t-shirt, boxers, and slippers. He’s in a three-piece suit (pinstripes), and leather shoes. We are outdoors, near a waterfall. Our families are nearby at a picnic table, making faces at the wildlife.

The Mi Vida Local album dropped today, October 5th, 2018, via Rhymesayers Entertainment.

I think that one of the best things about your music is that it is unapologetically genuine. The new wave of hip-hop is consistently being criticized for lacking substance and being production-driven rather than lyrically-driven. What are your thoughts on the new wave of hip-hop artists?
Atmosphere: I love what hip-hop is currently doing. As long as this music continues to challenge, frighten and frustrate old people, it’s on the right path.

You released your debut album Overcast in 1997. Over twenty years later you are still releasing music. How have you managed to stay relevant for such a long time?
Atmosphere: Nothing to see here. Just like any other successful artist, it’s all luck, dedication, timing, and witchcraft.

One of the benefits of having such a long career is that you get to see your music evolve and mature with you over time. At this point in your life, what are you hoping to achieve and what can fans expect from your upcoming album Mi Vida Local?
Atmosphere: I just want them to listen to it while making babies. Is that too much to ask? Also, hoping to inspire some people to get involved with vertical indoor farming. Get busy.

This is the just-released music video for “Jerome,” the latest off Mi Vida Local.