KCRW Video Premiere: Atmosphere – “Fortunate”

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Generally speaking, the state of the music industry is in critical condition.

The industry’s award winning “Favorite Rap/Hip-Hop Artist” is a blonde Australian girl. Even with people curiously buying vinyl again, album sales are at an all time low.

After 25 years of grinding, Minneapolis’ underground hip-hop kings, Atmosphere have proven against all odds, that survival (and relevance) in (or outside) the game is absolutely possible, if not insanely profitable.

The price is equal parts hard work, staying true to oneself and one’s fans, and in the long run hopefully few regrets and a genuine sense of gratitude.

On the cusp of closing out their massive 100+ city “North of Hell Tour” in support of their recent “Southsiders”, LP, rapper Slug (Sean Daley) and DJ/producer Ant (Anthony Davis) are releasing a video to their track “Fortunate,” shot outside LA’s Palladium before their performance there earlier this year.

Slug (fitted in a DEATH t-shirt) deadeyes the camera and sometimes raps along to the track, but mostly seems stony and bemused as fans hand him paddleballs and folding chairs and he steals some kid’s magazine.

Ant, who was celebrating his birthday that day, walks with his cake in hand.

The track, like a lot of Atmosphere tracks, has a real melancholic but super clever streak and is at it’s core a song of pride and thanks. Pride at having made it this far and still making music they feel. Thanks to those who got it and still get it.

Towards the end, Slug snaps out of daze and delivers the last line with as part affirmation / part indictment, “We’re not lucky, but we’re fortunate. I’m pretty sure of it. And all the life we wasted to make some bread might’ve been better spent trying to raise the dead.”

I’m only a casual fan of this duo, but I can say with certainty that I’m thankful for Atmosphere and their commitment and testimony. We are fortunate.