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Atmosphere’s been making waves in the independent hip-hop scene since as long as I can remember.  I only caught onto Slug and Ant in 2002 with God Loves Ugly, but they had already been active as a duo since 1997.  Recently, they just released their newest album Whenever and hit the road in early 2020 to promote it on their The Wherever Tour – North America.  Atmosphere's been selling out shows of this tour in cities like Seattle, Vancouver, and Chicago, so I knew I had to catch their sold-out Los Angeles show at The Novo.

When I rolled up, The Lioness was already on stage warming up the room with her witty and insightful music.  I grabbed a drink and walked this incredible venue, ending up on The Novo’s second floor patio.  It's a killer spot to enjoy a drink or catch a smoke in between sets, and I took some time prior to Atmosphere taking the stage to chat with fans during the brief intermission.  I soon noticed people start to make their way back into the venue as anticipation grew for the main act, and headed back in as I too was excited for this one to begin.  I took my position in the photo pit as this was show was ready to get underway.

As lights dimmed, Ant and a supporting DJ made their way behind the boards and laptops.  Shortly after, donned in a hoody, gloves, glasses, and a peacoat, Slug burst onto the stage with a red solo cup in hand.  The crowd erupted and fans could tell this show was going to be special.  Over the next two-hours, Atmosphere killed a ridiculously long set that made up for the shorter one played the day before at One Love Cali Reggae Festival in Long Beach.  They played a decent amount of material off of Whenever, but they still gave the crowd what they wanted with some of the nostalgic classic jams that spanned their near 25-year career in hip-hop.   Expectedly, it was “Fuck You Lucy” that was probably the most nostalgic moment of the night.  

After 2+ decades of creating and performing music as Atmosphere, Slug and Ant haven’t slowed down a bit.  As a matter of fact, they’ve gotten better with time as witnessed at The Novo on Saturday night.  Armed with an impeccable work ethic and incredible raw talent, Atmosphere took what used to be a merely a teenage hobby and turned it into a successful career that has withstood the test of time.  They're considered one the most hardworking, high-quality hip-hop acts on the planet and their live performances are a 'must-see' for any hip-hop aficionado.  I would highly recommend checking out Atmosphere when they roll through your town, and would circle the date now as it's a show you just can't miss. 



Kris Kuganathan

Photojournalist - Orange County

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