Top 10 Best Atmosphere Songs of All Time (And 10 Classic Slug Verses) Slug and Ant defined the midwest underground sound on the back of an Eyedea

Sean Daley (stage name Slug) and Anthony Davis (stage name Ant), known collectively as Atmosphere, are the album-pushing headlining act of Rhymesayers Entertainment. This Midwest label stayed underground during the golden Eminem era but gained everyone’s respect for the freestyle prowess of its acts, alongside the musicality. Brother Ali, for example, remains a staple of college radio with a unique flow yet to be matched. And Slug is an expert storyteller on the mic. Check out these highlights from the groundbreaking discography of Atmosphere.

Best Atmosphere Songs

10.  “The Last to Say”

Album: The Family Sign 2011

Classic Line: 

She gets to mourn for the touch of a punch
Won’t ever admit that she ain’t clutchin it much
Someday she’ll die, it still won’t be done
The anger lives on through their son

Cause he saw, he caught it all
A childhood of watching ma and pa get raw
It’s too bad for him, nah, that’s half the truth
Cause you back with him now and he’s smackin you
What happened to you? You don’t have a clue
Did your mama used to suffer accidents too?
I never knew that you would stand for abuse
I guess I just assumed that you would pack up and move

9. “The Best Day”

Album: To All My Friends, Blood Makes the Blade Holy: The Atmosphere EP’s 2010

Classic Line: 

I had a rough day, but that’s life, it happens
Woke up on a dark side of my mattress
I guess I forgot to set my clock
Overslept, almost lost the job
And to top it off, I’m kinda hungry
But can’t eat till I find my money
It’s in my wallet but my wallet ain’t in my pocket
Can’t remember the last time I saw it
And they don’t want me in a bad mood
Afraid that it’ll spread and everyone will catch an attitude
They got ’em all singing the same tone
Thinking I should go and start a fire in the break room
Co-workers make me sick
And the manager really ain’t shit
But I can’t quit, so I’m hiding in the basement
Holding onto to my face like fuck this place

8. “Trying to Find a Balance”

Album: Seven’s Travels 2003

Classic Line: 

East coast, West coast, down South, Midwest
Nowadays everybody knows how to get fresh
Somebody give me a big yes
God bless America, but she stole the B from Bless (and kept it)
Now I’m too fucked up to dance
So I’mma sit with my hand down the front of my pants
You can’t achieve your goals if you don’t take that chance
So go pry open that trunk and get those amps

7. “Camera Thief”

Album: Southsiders 2014

Classic Line: 

Camera thief
Take pictures
Run like the parallel stitches
Attach my feet to the path I beat
Teach myself to keep the answers brief
Gnash my teeth like the last to feast
Imagine me on that abandoned beach
Sand and sea as if the jazz was free
I’m ice cream mixed with gasoline
Direct attention to the craftsmanship
Neglect to mention that the past will stick
Like initials carved in the concrete
Like the tattoo that hides on your mommy
I still kick it with angels
The difference is that instead of the bar, I’m at my kitchen table
The starlight shines through the glass
But you feel safe underneath that mask

6. “Funny Colors in My Mushroom Trails”

Album: Headshots: Se7en 1999

Classic Line: 

I took the advice gobbled heads and stems
Swallowed vitamin-C enriched grapefruit liquid just to cleanse
My phlegm it’s been half an hour since I ate ’em
I still can’t lose the aftertaste from the bloomers
Tell me why did I take ’em
My man told me I would dig ’em
Asked me to roll with em I did ’em
Now I’m a victim
Stomachs getting sick from the tightness
It’s like a vice grips, aaaahhh, why do you like this?
Somebody turn on the lightswitch, aaaahhh
How’d you talk slug into fucking with this drug
Shit’s stuck between my teeth
And I’m breakin nuts anticipating the buzz
And then the hot flash hit like the sun
Honestly, I wanted to be done
My man promised me it would be fun
Did I eat too many? Did I jump in too fast?
How long’s this shit last?
Everyone take off ya mask, I lost my grasp
I don’t mean to eat and run on the 16th pound
But fuck that, I’m outta here
Barefoot, January, Lake street, eastbound
…Why don’t you try it?

5. “Don’t Ever Fucking Question That”

Album: Lucy Ford: The Atmosphere EP’s 2001

Classic Line: 

Enough to hold you to the brightest of lights,
to place you dangerously close to that sun,
enough to acknowledge the flaws you can’t ignore
and recognize the cause of what’s done is done,
more than enough to put my name behind my ideals,
and neglect my logic twice daily.
enough to keep me looking for my Lucy in the sky with gems,
when I remember how you used to call me baby,
enough to look in my mirror with detest for every tear you shed regardless of
why you wept,
enough to curse any man who can’t appreciate the depth of the ocean I swam
till I ran out of breath.

4. “Smart Went Crazy”

Album: You Can’t Imagine How Much Fun We’re Having 2005

Classic Line: 

Proud to know ya, Minnesota missile
Never sold coke and I never had to hold a pistol
Civil and simple, but set the freak show loose on the nipple
Watch her whole fuckin’ titty ripple
It’s why we battle, it’s why we travel
It’s why the mascot thinks that I’m an asshole
We made the team without puttin’ on a uniform
Smart went nuts and rode a unicorn through the storm

3. “She’s Enough”

Album: The Family Sign 2011

Classic Line: 

She the one that you wanna grow old with
She gotta touch it
She want to hold it
She gets focused
She’s got the dopest kiss
She don’t need you to tell her already knows it is
She makes me laugh till I’m on that floor
She don’t ask why I adore
She like to travel so we explore
Shes seen everything want to see some more
She the opposite of selfish
She love house pets, she wants to help kids
She pulled me out my shell
Fit tight like a belt now the suckers get jealous
Believe it don’t get sweeter
She gonna make me sweat like fever
She wanna eat so we went to domingis
She want a ring, got me measuring her fingers

2. “Guarantees”

Album: When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Shit Gold 2008

Classic Line: 

My better half is mad at making magic out of canned goods
My tax bracket status her questionin’ my manhood
My shorty got caught smoking weed at a concert
And if I smack em everybody treats me like a monster
My neighbors ain’t doin’ much better
And we making competition instead of stickin’ together
Can’t save no nest egg, in fact this nest is rented
In fact that rent is late, wait
The money ain’t here the raise ain’t comin’
Just me and my son and that crazy woman
And those bartenders this whole fuckin’ country
Got everybody swallowin’ that lunch meat
Maybe we can speed up the process
Kill me in my thirties in the name of progress
Put me in the dirt and then change the topic
Some time it seems like the only way to stop it
Contemplate my departure date
Doesn’t take a lot to get a lot of us to talk this way
Take a shot at me that’s all I’m obligated for
Apparently my only guarantee is a walk away

1. “Fuck You Lucy”

Album: God Loves Ugly 2002

Classic Line: 

Do I sound mad? Well I guess I’m a little pissed
Every action has a point, five points make a fist
You close em’, you swing em’, it’s hurts when it hits
And the truth can be a bitch, but if the boot fits
I got an idea: You should get a tattoo that says warning
That’s all, just a warning, so the potential victim can take a left
And save breath, and avoid you, sober and upset in the morning
I wanna scream, “Fuck you Lucy!”
But the problem is I love you Lucy
So instead I’ma finish my drink and have another
Well you think about how you used to be my lover

Best Slug Guest Verses

10. Roosevelt Franklin “Insomnia 411”

Album: Something’s Gotta Give 2003

Classic Line: 

I’m drunk again, sit and spin
The half-full glass acts like my best friend
Laugh and grin, bare my soul
Grab my heart and tear it whole
Put me out on my steps, set me down
Pull me into abyss and let me drown
When the breath quits and death grips
Maybe I can stop trying to run from these head trips
Spoke like one knew better
But I’m damned in the trap that I might’ve helped you set up
Don’t let up, keep the pace
You can need your space or you can read my face

9. Brother Ali “Blah Blah Blah”

Album: Shadows on the Sun 2003

Classic Line: 

Here we go
Lookin at me like they know me
Only bout as far as they drunk ass can throw me
Do it, somebody’s bound to catch it, no breakage
Never that, we keep it basic like breakfast
So taste it, the vitamins are subtle
So tighten up to Slug or, even try to decipher the puzzle
But shut up though
(Fuck that, sucka jump back)
I hold the game like Notre Dame, I know your dame
(We call her hunch back), Ali run that

8. CunningLynguists “Don’t Leave Me (When Winter Comes)”

Album: CunninLynguists 2009

Classic Line: 

Listen up, I’ve been meaning to say this
I’m not the greatest, I’ll never make that list
But everytime I come home, you’re still there waitin’
In case I never said it, thanks for your patience
Never got rich and famous, don’t get me wrong
There’s a lot of different faces that listen to the songs
But there’s no big time, never wrote the hit rhyme
Had to roll the highway just to go and get mine

7. Unknown Prophets “Never”

Album: World Premier 2000

Classic Line: 

Never could my voice lay down and die
Gimme one good eye to see my influence fly
Forever I’ll try to win genuine smiles
‘Cos I’ve planted my style across a million miles
I’ve never turned my back on the heads I entrap
Mic check, need a breath keep a step on the path
Never loose sight of what this is to me
And how it helps my plight to let everyone else see
I’ll never go out of my way to hold you back
I’m just here to make your head rock maybe make your shoes tap
And with some luck maybe I can stuck within your memory
remember me the one that does give a –what–

6. Logic “Tree of Life”

Album: Unreleased 2015

Classic Line: 

Nobody gotta agree with me, I’m just being me
I keep breathing my speech, you be
Comfortable if we never get to speak about it
You’d rather hit your hammer, just leave without it
We got a lot of light for the storm
With more shine than that lamp keeps your food warm
And the truth is un-disputable, it’s beautiful
It should be considered the usual

5. Eyedea “Forget Me”

Album: The Many Faces of Oliver Hart 2002

Classic Line: 

Something in the air make me not want to care
Let ’em stare until I’m riding on an empty spare
Follow the vein straight
As it drapes across the landscape and the sand and the lake
Off the beaten path
Learn the secret math
Keeping the laugh, smug
Too deep in the back of luck
Happy as fuck
But nobody’s convinced
Play daddy to the love and try to drop a couple hints
Ever since I came to learn all the right turns
I was cursed with the cigarette burns and the lost words

4. Abstract Rude “The Solution”

Album: Keep the Feel: A Legacy of Hip-Hop Soul 2015

Classic Line: 

I ain’t like the rest of the scene
I’m not swimming in a stream of synthetic wet dreams nah
I work hard keep everything clean
Cause the needle still stings when the pendelum swings yes
I’m tryna do my best I’m not the best though
I’ll do it to my death I never let go
A student of the Revolution
We put the salute in the solution

3. The Grouch & Eligh “!BOOM!”

Album: Say G&E! 2009

Classic Line: 

I always had the dopest tapes
Crunchy highs, distorted bass
Hit the schools, with my fools
Ante up to get a pack of Kools
Kept the jams in a paper bag
MC Sham, and Ultra Mag
It’s Critical Beat Down
Girl put your seat down
About to turn up the heat now
You can ride shotgun till the cops come
Jump trunk jack ain’t a problem
Hit the spot and make the ballers laugh
But now they all ask for my autograph

2. Evidence “Powder Cocaine”

Album: Weather or Not 2018

Classic Line: 

I never boarded your plane, but I crossed your border
Got a pocket of nails and we can prop these boards up
I caught a fish this big like I would die for your sins
If it would cure my boredom
I want knowledge of self and also everything else
But the gravity helps, yeah, reality’s real
When I finally fell, I told my family
“Well, when a battery dies it goes to battery hell”

1. Brother Ali “The Believers”

Album: The Truth Is Here 2009

Classic Line: 

Call me Slug, that’s it, don’t need no acronyms
Tryin to keep the masochist tucked inside the pacificist
But God it’s gettin hard to give ’em passes when
They act as if they came up on the south side of Nazareth
Can’t imagine this, it’s like a beauty pageant
Where them models project and serve the law of averageness
Coat hanger on the mic, rappin mannequins
Stash ’em out behind the garage, where the trash be in
Don’t go and get mad, I ain’t your daddy kid
And you not Ant, so why you tryin to sample this?
So pop your little titties out, ego expandin
Them shenanigans’ll catch a free ride up in that ambulance
Can’t fix them damages with bandages
Another midlife crisis, tryin to brag on all the ass you get
Cash it in and take a look at who you dancin with
You just a middle man between the fiends and your management
Minneapolis, takes the passion with
A twist of lemon, cause I’m on some old fashioned shit
So tell Anakin we lookin for Orlando with
Coach and the “Champion”, go fix a couple sandwiches


Dr. Brian Penny is a former Business Analyst and Operations Manager at Bank of America turned whistleblower, troll, and freelance writer. You can find his work in Cracked, High Times, HuffPost, Lifewire, Forbes, Fast Company, and dozens of other places, although much of it is no longer under his name. Dr. Penny loves annoying fake media.

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