Happy 40th birthday, Atmosphere's Slug: Seven of his lesser-known songs

Happy 40th birthday, Atmosphere's Slug: Seven of his lesser-known songs

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Today, hip-hop fans across the globe are wishing our homegrown indie-rap superstar Slug a happy 40th birthday. To mark this momentous occasion -- since most of you Slug fans probably already own the entire Atmosphere discography (including the elusive Sad Clown Bad Dubs) -- we at City Pages decided to round up of some stand-out Slug verses you may not be aware of. As a rule, we chose nothing that's been on an official Rhymesayers/Headshots release and stuck to guest appearances and obscure early work. Though this stuff might not figure into Atmosphere's headlining show at the Cabooze tonight, it's a great trip back through the years.

Sean1 - Washburn Talent Show 1989

Starting things off, we have the earliest known footage of Sean "Slug" Daley rocking the mic. Here, in a comparably highly choreographed 1989 high school talent show performance, the MC then known as Sean1 shows an early knack for charismatically moving a crowd with the stage presence of a professional.

Urban Atmosphere - "Ear Blister" 1993

In what's believed to be Slug's first music video appearance (as seen in the Austyn Steelman documentary Hip Hop Below Zero), "Ear Blister" features the group in its earliest incarnation, along with Spawn (known today as Rek the Heavyweight). Longtime fans may recognize the beat later being used at the end of Slug's appearance on DJ Abilities' ...for persons with dj abilities release. While only this brief clip of the "Ear Blister" video exists, the full song can be heard here.

Boom Bip f/ Slug - "Want" 2000

From the Ropeladder 12 compilation comes Slug's collaboration with Cincinnati producer and multiinstrumentalist Boom Bip. The lush production, symmetrical verses and catchy hook make for one of Slug's most rewarding earworms.

DJ Vadim f/ Slug - "Edie Brikell" 2002

Russian super-producer DJ Vadim, one-third of hip-hop group One Self, has worked with everyone from Prince and Stevie Wonder to Public Enemy and Kraftwork. His musical virtuosity has lent itself to bringing the absolute best out of his collaborators, and Slug was no exception. Of his 2002 release USSR: The Art of Listening, "Edie Brikell" is Slug at his most quotable, walking the line between profound and hellbound.

Uptown Jesus - "Darling Lucy" 2002

A release from Righteous Sound Empire that was given away as a promotional gift during the 2002 tour in support of god loves ugly, the Uptown Jesus single features a reworking of Prince's "Darling Nikki" as only an obsessive Prince fanatic could.

Slug - "Keep Steppin'" 2003

From Tableturns' State of the World compilation comes the Mondee produced "Keep Steppin'." Dealing with the different natures of self-motivation, the storytelling here is among Slug's most vivid and resonating.

Creature f/ Slug - "Better Man" 2005

Before he was leading Rebelmatic and after he was one-third of Triflicts, New York hand-to-hand hip-hop staple Creature was the Big Apple's underground hip-hop ambassador. On his 2005 album Never Say Die, a cross-country underground connection occured when he and Slug teamed up for "Better Man."

Atmosphere with I Self Devine. 6 p.m. Friday, September 7 at Cabooze Outdoor Plaza. Click here.

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