Atmosphere show how to do local pride right with new album and all-Minneapolis tour bill

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Atmosphere - BAO LE-HUU
  • Bao Le-Huu
  • Atmosphere
THIS LITTLE UNDERGROUND
Atmosphere, deM atlaS, The Lioness and DJ Keezy, The Beacham, Nov. 27

The current tour by indie-rap heroes Atmosphere is a beacon of what it means to have true local spirit. Although not our town, the Rhymesayers legacy act are proudly championing their own native Minneapolis in a way that a striving creative city like Orlando should be able to appreciate and perhaps take inspiration from.
Atmosphere at the Beacham - BAO LE-HUU
  • Bao Le-Huu
  • Atmosphere at the Beacham
Look no further than the title of the album they’re rolling out: Mi Vida Local. As suggested, the record and attendant music videos are deeply and visibly rooted in their home context.
And if that wasn’t repping hard enough, Atmosphere decided to roll deep, loading up the bus with an entire delegation of their next-gen hometown talent to spread the Twin Cities gospel by committee.
deM atlaS at the Beacham - BAO LE-HUU
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  • deM atlaS at the Beacham
Take boundary-shattering Rhymesayers protégé deM atlaS for prime example. Clearly shaped by his band origins, the young rapper’s sound is eclectic, organic and notably musical.
deM atlaS at the Beacham - BAO LE-HUU
  • Bao Le-Huu
  • deM atlaS at the Beacham
deM atlaS at the Beacham - BAO LE-HUU
  • Bao Le-Huu
  • deM atlaS at the Beacham
Commanding all that, though, is some real star power. Besides equal comfort and aptitude in both singing and rapping, he’s got frontman electricity on stage that manages to channel Michael Jackson, Terence Trent D’Arby and Corey Glover all at once. Pair that dazzling composite with a sound of real spectrum and you’re looking at a major prospect.
deM atlaS at the Beacham - BAO LE-HUU
  • Bao Le-Huu
  • deM atlaS at the Beacham
deM atlaS at the Beacham - BAO LE-HUU
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  • deM atlaS at the Beacham
Also giving respectable support was the Lioness, an MC whose entire swag is pure empowerment. Smooth and tough as fuck, she shows what all the bounce and cadences of contemporary rap are capable of when done with depth, heart and integrity.
The Lioness and DJ Keezy at the Beacham - BAO LE-HUU
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  • The Lioness and DJ Keezy at the Beacham
The Lioness and DJ Keezy at the Beacham - BAO LE-HUU
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  • The Lioness and DJ Keezy at the Beacham
The Lioness at the Beacham - BAO LE-HUU
  • Bao Le-Huu
  • The Lioness at the Beacham
Stitching the whole opening sequence together were the smart, tasteful mixes of turntablist DJ Keezy. And for their shine, all three fellow Minneapolis natives got shout-outs in rhyme by MC Slug once Atmosphere took the stage.
The Lioness and DJ Keezy at the Beacham - BAO LE-HUU
  • Bao Le-Huu
  • The Lioness and DJ Keezy at the Beacham
As for the flagship headliner, well, each successive outing only reinforces how remarkable an example Atmosphere are. It’s not just that they’ve aged well but that they’ve allowed themselves to do it so openly and genuinely.
Atmosphere at the Beacham - BAO LE-HUU
  • Bao Le-Huu
  • Atmosphere at the Beacham
Atmosphere at the Beacham - BAO LE-HUU
  • Bao Le-Huu
  • Atmosphere at the Beacham
Wearing the gray like well-earned battle scars, Slug is unafraid to allow his street-credentialed raps to be colored by domestic and middle-aged life. This is not the kind of artistic evolution that hip-hop typically encourages or rewards. Yet here they are at the top of their game while etching the adult perspective with more honesty, edge and relevance than practically everyone else.
Atmosphere at the Beacham - BAO LE-HUU
  • Bao Le-Huu
  • Atmosphere at the Beacham
Then again, you’d have license to explore kittens and rainbows if you had the ability to light up an entire music hall like a switch. And with the instant full-crowd ignition at this show, Atmosphere got it like few do.
Atmosphere at the Beacham - BAO LE-HUU
  • Bao Le-Huu
  • Atmosphere at the Beacham
All told, this tour shows that Minneapolis knows how to do it. Take it from them, Orlando, this is how an underdog city distinguishes itself. In an era where we’re sprouting some authentic, meaningful local roots and inching away from our historical transience, this is some pride and solidarity worth heeding to finally harness and immortalize our city’s burgeoning culture into some real heritage.
Atmosphere at the Beacham - BAO LE-HUU
  • Bao Le-Huu
  • Atmosphere at the Beacham
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Email Bao: baolehuu@orlandoweekly.com