Hip-hop duo Atmosphere to play sold-out show at Wooly's on Friday
Influential Minnesota hip-hop duo Atmosphere will play to a sold-out crowd at Wooly’s on Friday on its Mi Vida Local Tour along with openers Dem Atlas, The Lioness and DJ Keezy.
Consisting of rapper Slug (Sean Daley) and DJ/producer Ant (Anthony Davis), Atmosphere has been consistently in the forefront of the genre since 1996.
The previous year, Daley and Davis, along with Musab Saad (Sab the Artist) and Brent Sayers (Siddiq), created the independent record label Rhymesayers in Minneapolis. The well-revered underground hip-hop company has released every one of Atmosphere’s records, as well as boasting a roster of several up-and-coming hip-hop artists.
As their seventh full-length album “Mi Vida Local” implies, the duo is very much tied to their community on the south side of Minneapolis.
With a huge fan base, an Atmosphere concert attempts to create a personal connection between the group and the audience.
Music in Des Moines: Nitefall on the River confirms first 5 concerts of summer series
“We work on making sure that this is a personal experience for as many people as possible,” Daley said during a recent phone interview. “When you get a room full of people who have a lot of different ideas in their heads and come from a lot of different spaces, when you get them all together to enjoy something even for just one night, it creates community. And we can create that community to get everybody to understand that and see that.”
Atmosphere’s relationship with Des Moines, and the Midwest in general, goes all the way back to the group’s formative years.
“It’s where we got to woodshed our abilities,” Daley said. “It was our stomping grounds when we first started getting out of Minneapolis to show people what we were trying to do. The first places we got to go close in proximity were Fargo, Sioux Falls, Sioux City, Iowa, Des Moines, Iowa City, Madison and Milwaukee.”
“Our connection with those cities is not so much about how I’m viewed by the city, but how I view into the city,” Daley continued. “I’ve kind of watched these cities change and grow over the last 20 years. It’s hard to distinguish what part of my relationship to those cities are based in Atmosphere, because I visit those cities just on principle with my family. I’ve gone to Des Moines just to go record shopping.”
According to Daley, the label feels like one big family.
“I definitely often get to feel like a version of a den mother, especially due to my experiences and how long I’ve been doing this," Daley admitted during a phone interview last week while in Sacramento on tour. “I have a lot of information in my head that is sharable. With an artist like Dem Atlas or The Lioness, I am viable to offer, show or talk about some of these experiences.
Broadway in Des Moines: A closer look at the dozen Broadway shows coming to Des Moines next season
“I’m available, but I don’t want to be overbearing,” Daley continued. “I was the oldest of three siblings in a single parent household, so there’s a lot of parental nature inside of me. (Rhymesayers) is definitely family-oriented. But in the same breath, I’m also wise enough to know… a friend of mine once said this to me actually, ‘A good leader is trying to replace themselves and not trying to be a leader forever.’ And that’s how I feel.”
As Daley has gotten older and more ensconced in family life by raising four children, he has come to terms with his “Dad Rap” persona.
Music in Des Moines: Tool to perform in Des Moines this May
“Honestly, it’s not even a joke, I fully-fledged embraced the idea of dad rap about ten years ago when we made an album called ‘When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That S*** Gold,’ which came out in 2008,” Daley said. “It was pushed back from certain audiences because it was quieter, it was all tall narratives and stories, there wasn’t a lot of arrogance, aggression or competitiveness on that album.
"I was doing exactly the opposite of what was going on in the landscape of rap at the time. I was never afraid to try anything. I was never afraid to fall on my face and I feel like people are attracted to people that fall on their face. Chevy Chase made a whole career out of that stuff.”
What: Atmosphere, Dem Atlas, The Lioness, DJ Keezy
When: Friday at 8 p.m.
Where: Wooly’s, 504 East Locust
Tickets: Sold out