Slightly Stoopid

With more than a decade of making music together, the members of Slightly Stoopid have perfected one of the rarest and most valuable skills a band can develop: the art of the stealth groove, that knack for quietly, almost innocently, sliding into a composition, and utterly lassoing anyone within earshot by mid-song. That's where the band has come to reside, musically: deep in the pocket, that ever-elusive, funky trench where a band can entrance an audience, hypnotize it and hold on to it until the set or CD is finished. Built on a bedrock of nasty, oceanic slabs of dubby bass, meditative vocal harmonies, rock-steady guitar licks and tightly syncopated percussive rhythms, Slightly Stoopid illustrate a case study in underground success, steeped in years of hard touring, an improvisational business model, and a creative process that continues to unwind and push the envelope of a new jam-based genre the band helped to create.

Slightly Stoopid has built a large n' loyal fan base, and has soared to one of the most successful independent artists of this decade. The buzz surrounding the group continues to increase with each successive release; their album catalog sales have topped the 700,000 mark and the group continues to fill the most prestigious concert venues around the world, and continues to create a legion of "stoopidheads" in the process!

Minneapolis is known for many things — pretty lakes, the Mall of America, lutefisk. But 17 years ago, hip-hop act Atmosphere transformed the city into something else entirely: a nexus from which underground rap spiraled-out to the masses. And thanks to the duo’s indefatigable touring habits, Top 20-charting albums, and their galvanizing artist-owned label Rhymesayers (MF Doom, Aesop Rock), they’re still pushing the boundaries of what indie rap can mean.

It’s with that overachieving-underdog spirit that MC Sean “Slug” Daley and producer Anthony “Ant” Davis have named Atmosphere’s eighth studio album Southsiders (out May 6), a shout-out to their native neighborhood. Because, says Slug, “We have spent the majority of our career — God, we can call it a career! — repping the south side of Minneapolis pretty hard.”

While Southsiders is a celebration of the group’s fortitude, it is also a deeply introspective, and sometimes conflicted, work. “It’s a natural progression from the last record, The Family Sign, which was about growing my family,” says Slug, now a father to three, who finds himself contemplating mortality. “I’m starting to think, ‘What is post–family man? What am I supposed to rap about now?’ I’m sticking to my roots, rapping about what I’m doing, what I think about. This record is — much like the other ones — a very detailed look at my life.”

The album captures everything from a blazing, anthemic takedown in “Southsiders,” to the ebb-and-flow of loss in the sauntering “Arthur’s Song,” to emotional abandon in the rousing “Kanye West.” The latter — and its mantra, “put your hands in the air like you really do care” — is a high-five to the rapper whose emotional reactions are often misperceived as not caring. Say Slug, “I wanted to write a song about loving something so much that you submit to the moment."

All told, Southsiders took about ten months to complete. During that time, “I spent a lot of time agonizing over every detail, every word,” Slug says. He and Ant started out writing together in a Minneapolis basement. But these days, they trade tracks back and forth over email, with Ant triggering the creative flow by offering skeletons of songs.

Where Slug is the stalwart perfectionist, Ant persists as his healthy foil, finding beauty in sonic flaws. Says Slug: “He gives me the room to be as anal as I can be, even though he’s usually like, ‘Okay man, it’s okay. Let it go.’ He is the voice of reason I listen to.” Ant’s behind-the-board acumen is also key to Atmosphere’s unique sound: the live instrumentations provide vibrant tonal contrast to Slug’s often-weighty subject matter. Such as in album’s first single, “Bitter”: A condemnation of self-entitlement, it’s set, intriguingly, against sly synth percolations.

Much of Slug’s songwriting agony stems from his need to translate things he relates to into universal messages — which is why even after all these years, Atmosphere remains relevant in the rap game. “Do I want to leave a legacy of, ‘Oh, that guy was really dope. He figured out how to rhyme astral projections with gastral infections’? Or do I want to be a positive energy source for the movement in general?” Slug says. “There is purpose behind what I do than just talking about me.” And how does that impact his rhymes now? “Well,” he points out, “I have to keep things realistic: making sure the gross stuff represented itself as gross, and that the beautiful stuff stays beautiful.”

The Grouch & Eligh

The Grouch always wanted to make beats since he first heard about this music called hip-hop. His dad played keys and he felt music was inside him as well, but he didn't plan on being an MC. Being from Oakland, he grew up on local heroes like Digital Underground, Too Short, Toni, Tony, Tone, and many others.

Around '91/'92 Del tha Funkee Homosapien and the Hieroglyphics crew were first starting to make noise in the bay and it was then that he felt he could really make something out of this music thing. He had a friend who rapped who convinced The Grouch to start writing/rapping in '94. He met the Mystik Journeymen soon after and they schooled him on the independent hustle. It was on.

The Grouch's first show as an MC was in 1995, it was at one the Journeymen's "Broke Ass Summer Jam" shows in East Oakland. At that time he performed under his real name and the crowd showed him much love, which he says is the main reason he stuck with making music. The Grouch's music influences include all the hip-hop greats from LL Cool J to the Beastie Boys along with the Bay Area classics and jazz, rock, and soul music. The Grouch has always taken the independent route and has done everything himself along the way, a fact he takes great pride in.

Living Legends member Eligh has combined emceeing and beatmaking for over 10 years, having released a large number of regular as well as instrumental albums. His latest release was Enigma in 2005 which contained an even mix of rhyming and instrumental tracks.

Adv $35, DoS $35, Door $38, Mezz $50

Tickets

Show :: 7:30pm (times subject to change) / Oklahoma Joe's BBQ will be serving their full menu until 9:30pm!

add to your calendar

Who’s Going

Upcoming Events
Cain's Ballroom

Ticketfly

Slightly Stoopid & Atmosphere with The Grouch & Eligh

Thursday, August 1 · 6:30 PM at Cain's Ballroom