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Atmosphere centers on rapper Sean "Slug" Daley and producer Anthony "Ant" Davis. Founders of the Rhymesayers collective and label (which also includes Eyedea & Abilities as well as Brother Ali, among others), the group has been steadily on the grind since the mid-1990s, influencing a generation of emcees with Slug's heart-on-his-sleeve lyrical approach, which critics and fans have dubbed "emo-rap." Their first three albums -- 1997's Overcast!, 2000's Lucy Ford and 2001's God Loves Ugly -- are considered indie rap classics. With 2003's Seven's Travels, which featured the MTV hit "Trying to Find a Balance," and 2005's You Can't Imagine How Much Fun We're Having, they made inroads to the mainstream, too. On 2008's When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Sh*t Gold, Ant switched from sampling instruments to making beats with live instruments, and the album peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard charts. By the time they released 2010's EP collection To All My Friends, Blood Makes the Blade Holy, Atmosphere had expanded from a duo to a five-man band with a penchant for loose, meandering grooves, a sound they explored more fully on 2011's The Family Sign.
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