tmosphere's 2020 Wherever Tour is spreading powerful waves of positivity, nostalgia and hip-hop around North America to warm our hearts during a cold winter. The hip-hop duo made up of Ant (Producer) and Slug (MC) have been making music together since the late 90s and attracted millions of fans along the way. Their particular brand of rap is unique in that it is not limited to the typical motifs of cars and ice, instead they attempt to express the full range of human emotion over beats that retain a vintage 90s feel. Although many first impressions categorize Atmosphere as an easy listening, soft rap group vis-a-vis 'Sunshine', this is really just the tip of the iceberg. The true appeal of this Minnesota duo is the emotional variety that protrudes from their songs. Some tracks are incredibly dark, others introspective, some are completely carnal totally revolving around sex while others are about riding a ten-speed in the sunshine. This sort of total expression has created a cult following around Atmosphere that still stands strong today.

Ant and Slug are currently touring North America in celebration of their seventh studio album, Whenever, which was released in December 2019. The second stop of the tour occurred on a Tuesday night in Chicago but this didn't stop droves of Atmosphere fans to pack the Metro to the brim. The show began with sets from DJ Keezy, Nikki Jean, and The Lioness before the main attraction appeared. As Slug and Ant took the stage their fiery energy seemed to spark the crowd within seconds. The crowd was amazed by Slug's enthusiasm and many began to wonder if he was really three years away from 50. They played tracks such as Fuck You Lucy, GodLovesUgly, Trying to Find a Balance and The Woman with the Tattooed Hands. Considering Slug's vocal delivery is almost indifferentiable from his early recordings and he can still rock a black hoodie with jeans, it is safe to say that his spirit is still young.

Despite Slug's youthful stage presence, his attitude seems very mature. Throughout the show Slug constantly repeated the phrase 'I love you' in between songs, which morphed into a sort of adlib/motto that created a very positive environment within the venue. At one point he encouraged the crowd to put an 'L' in the air as he began a 'Love Life' chant. This overtly positive attitude gains a sense of reality when one considers Slug's intense journey that infused supreme success with alcohol problems. As the authenticity of this hip-hop duo approaches the listener it becomes clear that they are more than just a rap group, they are an atmosphere. The Wherever Tour continues until late February with dates all over North America, check out the list of upcoming cities here.

Photos by
Pedro Acosta