Toward the end of the nineties, a new sort of energy began to roll outward from the clubs and indie record stores of Minneapolis, Minn. and capture an sizable chunk of the underground hip hop demographic as it moved. At its center was Atmosphere, a then-trio (now duo) who made swinging, loop-based, sometimes goofy rap. At Atmosphere's core was its charismatic lead MC, Slug, who spit syllable-packed, highly relatable "modern man" lines about girls, booze, and being an MC in his distinct loud-mouth voice. While some of it seemed to pander to the growing backpack/lyrical crowd, they were among the first, and it was a refreshing change-up when you grew weary of the more violent, hardcore rhymes coming from many other corners of the genre. Their newer product is certainly a departure from those early successes (not necessarily in a good way), but it's always fun to relive their glory days. With I Self Devine, Carnage. TODD HAMM

Sat., Sept. 15, 8 p.m., 2012

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