The last time Slug felt as sick and contradictive as this was the last time he played a show in Cincy. He and the other half of Atmosphere, DJ/producer Ant, haven’t played here since, save a Scribble Jam or two.
But the last headlining show that Atmosphere played in Cincinnati was nearly seven years ago. If you’re an Atmosphere fan, then you’ve heard the various references to Top Cat’s and that show. As someone who was there, I remember it being just about as tragically awesome as Slug does, just from a different perspective. From label-mate Blueprint standing on stage ready to square up with the sound man to Mr. Dibbs’ (local DJ legend and Atmosphere’s touring DJ at the time) crew of knuckleheads getting in huge brawls to folks vomiting liquor all over “God’s Bathroom Floor.” It takes great artists to make a complete meltdown seem just as awesome as any other show.
“Every time we came back to Cincinnati we connected it to Scribble Jam,” Slug says.
“But Cincinnati? These fools like to beat the shit out each other. But it doesn’t fit the vibe I’m trying to bring. But Scribble? Scribble is the safe place to do a show at. If a fight breaks out, a security guard will rip your arm off. Dibbs tells me it’s not really like that anymore.
“But that’s the funny answer. The real answer is, really, it was just time to come back. Without Scribble, we would’ve come back more often, but why not do Scribble, save money and time while hitting four different cities in the Midwest with one show?”
The lineup for the show at Madison Theater is eerily similar to that infamous Top Cat’s one, with the only difference being newly signed Rhymesayers act Grieves & Budo. Blueprint (a former Cincinnati resident, alongside Cincy staple DJ Rare Groove) will be making his return from extended leave as well, touring in support of the upcoming (and longtime-coming) Rhymesayers release Adventures in Counter-Culture. I’ve heard the album at various stages over the years, so I’m honestly more genuinely excited to hear Print’s set more than anyone else’s.
But Atmosphere is the headliner. And with over a million albums sold independently, it’s deserved. These people and this label are the reasons I write my monthly Hip Hop column for CityBeat. The folks on this bill have been doing it right for years. I can’t imagine how much fun they’re having.
(Buy tickets, check out performance times and get venue details here.)