In honor of Atmosphere coming back to Indianapolis this month, I wanted to do a little reminiscing on the RhymeSayers and Indianapolis connection that has been going on for over 10 years now. In 1998, fresh from moving back to Indianapolis from NY, I was working with Russell and Tyler of the mudkids, Co-Managing with Mark Seidman, we shared offices with Josh Baker at Dan Metro's Surf Records and we had just released a 12" single to accompany their legendary full length, "4 Track Mind". All cylinders were firing and shows lined up all around the Midwest, we had heard of a group called Atmosphere, so upon researching, I personally reached out to a guy named Sadiq that was making noise out of Minneapolis, we joked about how folks always got our cities confused, and dude was REAL genuine, so we made a deal. He offered to book mudkids up in Minneapolis at the legendary 1st Avenue (the Purple Rain Club!!) and we would book his tour in Indianapolis.
We quickly called all the clubs we could find and no one in Indy wanted to do the show. Finally Mark and Hootie at Sugar Shack (Now Have a Nice Day Cafe) who had just done some decent numbers with a Run DMC show there, agreed to host it and we did the deal. Little did we know that we would be hosting such a legendary performer as Slug for his first time in Indy. Crush Entertainment has brought many folks to Indy for their first time, but this was different, as the artists from RSE were willing to REALLY build with the locals and it shows when they tour, as almost every venue in cities from NY to Jackson Hole, WY sell out for Atmosphere shows. The show in Indy was awful as NO ONE was trying to see REAL Hip Hop in a venue like The Sugar Shack but all 3 groups from Minneapolis ROCKED like it was a packed house. After the show they weren't disappointed and Sean/ Slug promised to bring us up to Minneapolis to rock with them. I was a little skeptical as I had heard all that before and had feared that after the show had gone so poorly in Indy that they would think our crew wasn't really doing it right.
About a month went by and I got a call from Sadiq, he was like "Yo we want yall to come up and rock with us at our Monthly joint next month" and I was VERY excited about it, we loaded up Willie B's AstroVan and rolled up about 8 Deep to Minneapolis for the show, when we got there the place was packed and they took extra good care of us, mudkids KILLED it and a bond was forged between Russell and Sean that lasts to this day. In the last 10 years, Atmosphere has went from playing Russell's Bday at the Melody Inn to selling out the Vogue and headlining Festivals Internationally and it goes for a few reasons, not the least of which is the dope ass music. Since hiring Jason J-Bird Cook and basically instituting Scribble Jam as a National Phenomenon, they have gone on to great things due to a DIY business model and the WAY they have executed it that has made them so successful. Local and/or struggling artists pay attention to these moves if you want longevity in the game.
I will see you on Sept 10th at the Vogue when the MinDianapolis love affair continues
NEW Atmosphere Joint "FreeFallin" -
Pictured Above, Rusty of the Mudkids w Slug and C-Rayz Walz, if I could get an album with just those three, I would be good for a MINUTE! 3 of my favorite MC's in the game, PERIOD!
This post is dedicated to the memory of FAT BEATS, Rest In Power.