Atmosphere

Headshots: Se7en

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Over four records, the Minneapolis, MN's Atmosphere has cultivated a sizeable underground following, often blurring across genres and even releasing a record on the punk-oriented Epitaph label and appearing on the ninth installment of the PUNK-O-RAMA series. However, Atmosphere's music is ultimately rooted in traditional hip-hop, perhaps closest to Oakland, CA's Hieroglyphics collective in its heyday of the early 1990s. MC Slug's style lies somewhere between that crew's Del Tha Funkee Homosapien and the immediacy of Rakim, as he alternately delivers rhymes that touch on conventional rap and misfit story-poems.

HEADSHOTS: SE7EN captures the outfit in its formative years, concentrating on tracks Atmosphere recorded between 1997 and 1999. While Slug's lyrical musings are often the focal point of the tracks, Ant's beats are underrated, and his early work, clearly influenced by Eric B., often shines with playful brilliance. On tracks like the carnival-esque "The Jackpot" and "Swept Away," Atmosphere even recalls the early days of De La Soul. HEADSHOTS:SE7EN offers entertaining insight into the origins of a leading light in underground hip-hop.

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