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.
With over a million albums sold independently, Atmosphere's soaring popularity is well deserved. Slug and Ant, along with their labelmates on Rhymesayers Records, are the reasons I write my monthly Hip Hop column for CityBeat. The folks on this bill have been doing it right for years.
The word dharma is a term used in Eastern Philosophy, primarily in the Hindu faith. Its most literal meaning is "to act in accordance with one’s duty." Over the years, I’ve learned to live by this ideal. The most successful people I meet involved with music, or any industry for that matter, are the ones who let their profession choose them.
This column is a sequel to one from last November in which I interviewed my homie Rare Groove, whom I consider to be one of the greatest DJs the city has ever witnessed, specifically in helping to build an artist's stage show into something more than five dudes rapping over vocal tracks, gunshots and tornado sirens. But that's not all a DJ does.
I didn't like my last two columns. Straight up. What started out as lessons for independent artists felt like some holier-than-thou shit. And that's not cool. At all. So I'm sidestepping for a minute to write what will be the natural third arc in this column trilogy: the burn-out.
When you're fresh into a scene, it's hard to know who's telling what truths and who's leading on. The older I get and the more I fully dive into a career in music head-on, it becomes more obvious who's on their game and who's, for lack of a better term, full of shit.
Why are local scenes so split? Not to say there aren't people who venture to other scenes in the city, but the majority stays put in their comfort zone. I could make this point for most music scenes in the city, but I'll stick to Hip Hop since that's what the column's title tells me this is about.
One thing I've learned to be careful of is killing an opportunity before you've even studied and realized exactly what it is. Social networking promotions and building is a chess game, not checkers: It's not about the immediate victory as much as it is the one three steps ahead.
I have a theory: Your dream is kind of like the moon — the further away you are from it, the more beautiful it looks. The closer you get to it, the more you see the reality of it: the craters, the flaws, the reality. If "me" from 2002 could see me now, I'm sure he would be so excited that he finally "made it."
For anyone who’s been reading these columns, I hope you’re catching on to the natural progression of the format. We started at the earliest stages for a new artist and are leading up to the more advanced business and musical aspects of the industry.