Origins is a recurring series giving artists a space to break down everything that went into their latest release. Today, Atmosphere’s Slug digs into their new single, “Okay.”
Minnesota hip-hop duo Atmosphere have announced their new album, So Many Other Realities Exist Simultaneously, out May 5th via Rhymesayers Entertainment. As a preview, they’ve released the lead single, “Okay,” and its accompanying video. What’s more, they’ve announced an upcoming tour (grab your seats here).
After releasing over two dozen studio albums in their more than 25-year career, Atmosphere explore unprecedented areas of discomfort on So Many Other Realities Exist Simultaneously. The impact of the 2020 lockdown and American civil unrest weaves together a narrative throughout the album of tension and paranoia. Vinyl and merch pre-orders are ongoing at Atmosphere’s website.
“Okay” relays a message of comfort to those who are struggling in the current state of our world. The duo, made up of rapper Slug and producer Ant, felt deeply impacted by the events of 2020, including the murder of George Floyd, which happened in their hometown of Minneapolis.
“Being here in this community during this time felt like we could no longer depend on our past experiences to guide us forward. there was a sense of progress, but also, shit was feeling dystopian,” Slug tells Consequence. “I wasn’t ready to turn my existence (or my car) into a Mad Max sequel. The dust is still settling, but I wrote this while wanting to remind my loved ones and myself that regardless of the external conflicts happening around us, we are here for each other.”
Slug drops bars of positivity over a twinkling instrumental, expressing his hope for the future despite the circumstances. “It’ll be okay/ Even if you’re feeling like there ain’t no way,” he raps. “You’re still with us today/ It’s gonna be okay.”
Check out the music video for “Okay” — featuring actor Taryn Manning, rappers Murs and Chino XL, and professional wrestler “Platinum” Max Caster — and read about the Slug’s inspirations for the single below.
In support of the album, Atmosphere will head out on a run of European and US tour dates. See the schedule below. Tickets go on sale beginning Friday, February 24th at 10:00 a.m. local time via Ticketmaster. Look for deals on Stubhub once they sell out.
So Many Other Realities Exist Simultaneously Artwork:
So Many Other Realities Exist Simultaneously Tracklist:
02. Eventide (feat. Shepard Albertson)
04. Dotted Lines
05. In My Head
06. Crop Circles
08. It Happened Last Morning
10. September Fools’ Day
11. Talk Talk (feat. Bat Flower)
13. Holding My Breath
14. Still Life (feat. Murkage Dave)
15. After Tears (feat. Sa-Roc)
16. Positive Space
17. Bigger Pictures
18. Truth & Nail
19. Sculpting with Fire
20. Alright (Okay Reprise)
Atmosphere 2023 Tour Dates:
05/11 – London, UK @ Electric Ballroom
05/12 – Amsterdam, NL @ Melkweg
05/13 – Cologne, DE @ Gebäude 9
05/15 – Paris, FR @ La Bellevilloise
05/17 – Berlin, DE @ Hole44
05/19 – Copenhagen, DK @ Pumpehuset
05/20 – Stockholm, SE @ Kägelbanan
05/21 – Oslo, NO @ Parkteatret
05/25 – Monterey, CA @ Cali Roots
06/16 – Greenwood Village, CO @ Fiddler’s Green
The Social Distancing of 2020:
We were stir-crazy. Touring was halted, so I dug myself deeper into my basement to create. I immediately remembered how grounding and satisfying it was to make music without any strings of financial/career/strategic bullshit, and I embraced and basically covered myself in that ooze. I also turned my studio into a Schoolhouse Rock, so I had two of my children here daily for a whole school year doing homework & Zoom school while I was writing raps. Looking around as I write this today, there are still pencils, art projects, and random messages about building self-confidence scattered around the studio walls.
George Floyd Protests:
When George Floyd was murdered in May of 2020, it sparked a series of well-deserved uprisings and division. I would wake up with ashes in my front yard from the buildings burning three miles away. Being here in this community during this time felt like we could no longer depend on our past experiences to guide us forward. There was a sense of progress, but also, shit was feeling dystopian. I wasn’t ready to turn my existence (or my car) into a Mad Max sequel. The dust is still settling, but I wrote this while wanting to remind my loved ones and myself that regardless of the external conflicts happening around us, we are here for each other.
These kids are living through a moment of so much division, anger, and dotted lines being drawn between us all. it’s no longer just two sides. People who were on the same team a week prior were finding ways to pick each other apart and knock each other down. In the face of confusion, I wanted to spray some colorful paint over our tiny corner of the greater landscape. I want to try to model what it looks like to be a thoughtful and intentional dad/artist.
Our Past Work:
Much of our past material has often been described as dark and self-reflective, but even though when I’m forced to hear it, I hear hope. I wanted this song to be obviously optimistic so that it couldn’t be misinterpreted.
In 2020, after the completion of the WORD? album, touring wasn’t happening at all, so we jumped right back into writing. Ant had an upbeat track that he thought would be great for a first song. We never started an album with an upbeat, happier jam. We also recognized that it would be an interesting exercise to create this album in its final sequence, though we didn’t even know yet what the larger narrative of this album would be until it unfolded for us.
Like life, we decided to produce, write, and record the full album in the same sequence that you hear when you listen to/experience the album. Each song was informed by the song prior, like life. This was truly an amazing experience for us and I fully recommend it to anyone else who overthinks the creation of their own music.