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The last time we checked in with Slug and Ant was on 2016’s Fishing Blues, the latest chapter in a string of albums showcasing the pair’s evolution from tortured hedonists into settled-down dads making kicked-back rap records. It would have been nice to carry on thinking they were finally at well-earned peace after two decades of extensively documented trials and tribulations. But just because your corner of the globe is peaceful, that doesn’t mean that the rest of the world stops turning.
It’s a different place than it was two years ago, and the seventh Atmosphere album, Mi Vida Local, reflects the ways in which the world–and Atmosphere’s place in it–have changed. The idyllic domesticity of the past few records has morphed into anxiety over keeping loved ones safe during turbulent times. Instead of bragging about backstage misadventures it’s about grappling with mortality. The easygoing collaboration between Ant and Slug has started to feel more like the life-or-death intimacy of two men trapped together on a lifeboat.
At times it’s a heavy album (“I might be the last generation of grandparents,” goes a key line from “Virgo”), but it’s far from grim. There are jokes being cracked, joints getting smoked, a little trash talking and beefing here and there–after all, it’s still a rap record. And Atmosphere’s never sounded better.
As the name implies, Mi Vida Local is intensely focused on the place it was created–the southside of Minneapolis–where Slug and Ant work tirelessly in their “beautiful basements”, refining their sound without interruption. (Although a handful of friends from the Minneapolis hip-hop community showed up to contribute.) A year of one-on-one collaboration resulting in an album that matches complex subject matter with equally deep beats–ones that show a clear lineage back to the psychedelic funk landmarks from an earlier era where America was going through a post-utopian hangover, and prove that there won’t ever be a time where boom-bap beats don’t sound perfectly of the moment.
Mi Vida Local might be the best album Atmosphere’s ever made. It’s definitely the one they needed to make right now, and one listeners need to hear just as urgently. If it’s sometimes an album about how the fight to find happiness never really ends–even after you get the house and the kids and the artistic freedom to make dad-rap records–it’s also about discovering that there’s happiness to be found just in fighting.
Since signing to indie heavyweight Rhymesayers Entertainment in late 2013, deM atlaS hasn't wasted any time in spreading his brand of Hip-Hop music across the world. Steadily on the road since his signing, he was able to find the time to release his unofficial debut, DWNR, in late 2014. DWNR was a special release with each cover uniquely hand-drawn by deM atlaS himself. Released to critical acclaim, the first pressing of over 1000 copies sold out within 48 hours.
"DWNR, his grunge-influenced Rhymesayers debut, is deeply melancholy, and splits the difference on 'depressed' and 'party mode'" -Pitchfork
deM followed the release of DWNR with major festival plays around the country, and supporting label mates Atmosphere on various tours in the US, Canada and Europe. After taking a break in France to record with French super group Ursus Minor, deM returned home and released his second EP titled mF deM on July 15, 2016. The project featured new lyrics over 13 previously released MF DOOM beats. Starting in September 2016 deM atlaS joined Atmosphere and Brother Ali on the formers Freshwater Fly Fishermen Tour that spanned the U.S. and Canada until February 2017. Upon returning home deM immediately began putting the final touches on a full-length debut album and gearing up for a busy summer and fall.
The Lioness, born Shaiwna Adams on April 6, 1988 is the youngest of a large family from Minneapolis. Like many growing up in the now infamous North Side, she has worked very hard to get where she is today. Shaiwna was the first in her household to graduate from college. Following inspiration from the likes of Ms. Lauryn Hill & Queen Latifah, helped influence her artistically. Shaiwna found her musical talents when she began singing in the church choir, then expanding into poetry and spoken word, Shaiwna found herself wanting to spend more time performing for others. Local open mic’s provided an outlet for her to express her words. Her poetry then evolved into rap, introducing “The Lioness.”
Born and raised in Minneapolis, DJ Keezy has been making waves in the Twin Cites for four years now. Through her years of DJ’ing and realizing that women are consistently being underestimated in their own talents and abilities, Keezy has a commitment to using her gift to highlight other artists. She is the founder of one of the first all female identified line-up dance parties to hit First Avenue's Mainroom. She has won Twin Cities Best Club DJ of 2017. In addition, she is a curator of many other dance nights within the Twin Cities. Keezy has also had the opportunity to open for established acts like Kehlani, Big Freedia, The Internet, Cupcakke, Trina & Da Brat. Including being on worlds biggest one day hip-hop festival SoundSet. Her style is heavily influenced by hip-hop, jazz and rap. Her signature sound consists of spinning throwbacks and the hottest new remixes.