If you’ve been following this site at any point during its almost 6 year existence, you would know that I champion an incredibly diverse array of independent artists and labels from all over the world. And as a blogger and music critic, the ease that independent artists and labels can distribute and promote their music has been both wonderful and terrifying. It’s wonderful because independent labels often are at the forefront of reintroducing sadly forgotten yet influential artists or sadly forgotten artists, who were ignored because they were decades ahead of their time — and there are a bevy of artists, who are creating some incredible music that mainstream radio and media outlets just wouldn’t pay much attention to. Shame on them for not providing listeners and fans with the diversity and meaning that they so desperately seek. Let me make it clear, I have nothing wrong with the mainstream or mainstream artists. Jay Z is one of the greatest living emcees in hip-hop and no one can deny that. Beyonce has an incredible voice — and is one of the world’s most beautiful and desirable women. Adele has an incredible voice and I would pay to hear her sing the White Pages. Kanye West is one of the most influential artists and producers of contemporary music, not just hip-hop — and in my mind he’s a lock to the Rock ‘N’ Roll Hall of Fame. But let’s be honest here: those artists receive enough press for their music and exploits and my attention to them doesn’t really matter much.
Personally, I feel a responsibility to shed light on those artists that I think you as a reader would love and would have heard about if mainstream outlets and other sources were much more diverse. Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over some time, you may recall that I’ve written about hip-hop act Atmosphere. Initially formed as as trio featuring Slug, Spawn D and Ant, the trio had been a part of the Headshots crew, a collective that also featured acts like The Abstract Pack, Phull Surkle, Black Hohl, Beyond. Back in the mid 90s, the collective’s profile was growing around hip-hop circles and building on the buzz that the Headshots crew was receiving, a much-anticipated compilation featuring tracks by each artist of the crew was slated for release. Sadly, the compilation was never released and an opportunity for many of these artists to receive greater attention was squandered; however, to be fair, Atmosphere, in particular are beloved in indie hip-hop circles and they’re still quite prolific.
Atmosphere’s latest single “My Better Half” was written as a tribute to Slug’s wife, who he says he actually met at a German bar on a Wednesday. And as much as its about stumbling upon someone who perfectly complements you and understands you — to the point that you have your own language and rhythms; the song is also uses the same metaphor for how it feels to stumble upon something that’s your life’s calling. And much like Pete Rock and C.L. Smooth‘s “They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y.),” the song possesses a deeply introspective feel — subtly thrown in is the sweet sense of amazement, wonder and gratitude that some larger force bestowed luck on you, as well as an acknowledgement that finding real and meaningful love is lucky and rare.