by Robert Bell
9 p.m. Juanita's. $20.
Minneapolis-based Atmosphere has been at it since the late '90s, more or less inventing the confessional emo-rap subgenre along the way. Primarily a duo — MC Slug and producer and DJ Ant — the group has taken a decidedly more punk rock approach than a lot of other hip-hop bands, releasing their own albums, touring relentlessly (sometimes with a live backing band) and generally eschewing the brand-whoring and braggadocio of a lot of mainstream hip-hop in favor of darker, more introspective and personal material.
The title of Atmosphere's '08 album sums up its approach nicely: "When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Shit Gold." I suppose Atmosphere is among the bands that could be dubbed as indie backpacker fare, but that seems like a copout way to sum up a group that's most certainly paid its dues and blazed its own path. Whatever you wanna say about Atmosphere, 2 Chainz it ain't.
Openers include DJ Rare Groove and Blueprint and I Self Devine, both of which are on the Rhymesayers roster that includes Atmosphere and other indie hip-hop luminaries such as Aesop Rock and MF Doom.