When I rolled up to the Loft just before 9 p.m., the line for Atmosphere wrapped around the building. And anyone foolish enough to think they were buying tickets at the door seriously mistook the following the Minnesota rap team had in Dallas. The holdup was heavily due to checking IDs and getting a ridiculous over 21 wristband with your full name etched onto it. Talk about Big Brother at his finest.
DJ SKU set the scene for the tour’s unofficial host, Luckyiam of the Living Legends crew, to open the show. The audio wasn’t the best and I couldn’t actually catch his lyrics, but he kept it moving, nonetheless, ending his first song with an emphatic, “What’s crackin’?” that immediately woke up the room. Sometimes prowling, sometimes bouncing across the stage, not missing a breath, Luckyiam performed a few singles from his upcoming album Most Likely to Succeed before he gave way to Mac Lethal.
As someone who came specifically to see “that cat from FELT,” (that’s actually what I said to my guide to the Rhymesayers movement, a former classmate named David DeLeon) I was both enlightened and surprised by Atmosphere’s opening acts. Mac Lethal stole the show with his high-intensity, crowd-participation driven performance. The smell of weed hung in the air as Mac Lethal spit a hilarious rap about getting a DUI. Having more fun with it, he bounced, “I got a D-U-I-I-I-I-I-I” to Three 6 Mafia’s “Fly Til I Die” instrumental.
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Between sets, the performers walked the Loft amongst the crowd, sometimes selling CDs out of their back pockets, enjoying the vibe. Before Grayskul took the stage, David gave me some background on who exactly all of these cats are and their conscious decision to stay independent after being courted by major labels. After Lethal’s adrenaline-laded set, Grayskul took it down to a cerebral level. There was less movement and more listening during the group's set, but it brought the energy back up with “Scarecrow.”
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Around 11:30 p.m. Atmosphere appeared to a much-hyped crowd (photos). After performing “Music Box,” Slug announced he was going to do some new songs, which was met with a mixed response. He rocked the damn-I-appreciate-life joint, “Sunshine,” and then a few others and, finally, paused when the crowd began singing along with songs that weren’t even out yet. Satisfied, he gave them what they wanted with “Godlovesugly” and “The Woman With Tattooed Hands.”
It was at this point that David insisted I sit down with Luckyiam. Dude was surprisingly patient about the fact that I was a (ridiculously) late adopter. Even though Lucky was touring without the rest of the Living Legends crew, he felt like it was a blessing to still be out on the road and blog his experience for the URB magazine Web site. He said the Living Legends are pretty much doing their own things at this point, but to look out for a new album early summer 2008, featuring some outside production.
Highlight of the show: Mac Lethal doing the Soulja Boy with Luckyiam, much to the crowd’s dismay and then calling it the stupidest shit he’s ever seen. -- Quia Querisma