Saturday, April 16, 2011

What's So Great About Atmosphere and Rhymesayers?

Chances are if you're in high school or college and take pride in non-conforming to the mainstream, you've heard of Atmosphere. Ignore the irony. Of all the hip-hop and rap going on these days the duo Atmosphere (made up of lead emcee Slug and beat producer Ant) have succeeded in the very thing spoken about by the Gucci Manes and Flava Flavs; keeping it real. With strong lyrical content focused on the highs and lows of normal-person life and beats oriented more around instruments you can actually play live, Atmosphere is on a lower pedestal than Lil' Wayne... and closer to their audience. Take the release of their most recent album, The Family Sign. It's their seventh official studio album, they have accumulated millions of fans, and are in the midst of kicking off their album promo tour. So what can they do that even compares to Lupe Fiasco's G-Shock Watch contest for Lasers? They sit down and actually sign every single pre-ordered album by hand as a way to say thank you.

With all these fan-oriented marketing strategies and genuine passion, it's no surprise that Rhymesayers Entertainment, the label formed by the members of Atmosphere and couple other artists/business oriented guys (Sean Daley, Anthony Davis, Brent Sayers, and Musaab Saad) has such a close-knit and supportive fan base. The Rhymesayers label is pretty much what every artist or die-hard music fan has thought about at least once. It's something simple, a tool for up-and-coming artists to reach the fans, get their albums out, and pay for a weeks supply of Ramen Noodles. To a degree it still is. The only difference is now they actually have an office space, actually live well successfully in the music industry, and put on their own major tours.
The biggest thing that comes to mind to someone who knows a little bit about the label, artists, and founders is that they actually CARE. The label is actually a LABEL, they care for and work with their artists. The artists are actually ARTISTS, they put thought and effort into their work. The founders actually FOUNDED, they built the entire business from the ground up with blood sweat and tears. What did all of this get them? Fans that are actually FANS. People that religiously check to see what their favorite artists are doing, when they will release even a sneak peak of a single, that have calenders on their wall, phone, and laptop all marked for the day that a tour is coming through their town. Kids are learning more about life through the music of Brother Ali, POS, Atmosphere, Blueprint, and Musab then they are from their own fathers. They feel closer to Eyedea than they do with their cousins. Is this really marketing, or is it just being genuine? Maybe marketing exec's could learn a thing or two from these guys at the label and the artists. Maybe instead of using scientific research to determine that painting the logo red and yellow induces a reaction felt as hunger, McDonalds should use what they already know and paint "You should eat here because it tastes good" on all their restaurant walls.

Start listening to genuine music. Not completely, I'm not saying that. All music is good, and of course I have good things to say about Gucci Mane, Justin Bieber, and William Hung. But every now and then just play something that actually has an effect on you. Makes your brain do things. It's refreshing to let something invoke emotion. Especially in a world where you're not allowed to show any.

And go buy The Family Sign. It's really good.

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