It was a year of Prince, fish and festivals.
The Minnesota cornerstone of indie-rap spanning three decades, Slug of Atmosphere is never at a loss for words, no matter what the situation. So, when it comes to reflecting on a year that included a new album in Fishing Blues, the death of a personal hero and a series of outdoor shows from some of the most beautiful places on the planet, the Southsider definitely had some jewels to drop.
Having personally last spoken to Slug for my radio show on Minneapolis’ Go 95.3 before Fishing Blues’ release last summer, I knew where he was in the midst of his busy, busy year. Now, touching base with him again at 2016’s conclusion, his reflections are poignant, funny and really capture both his personal experience and the vibe of 2016 as a whole.
Best Moment of 2016: Me and my wife went to Los Angeles for two days, and went bowling with Evidence and his old lady. It was such a spur of the moment "Hey, you want to go bowling in LA?" kinda thing.
Most Frustrating Moment of 2016: When I heard that Prince passed away, there was probably ten minutes of trying to figure out if it indeed was true.
When you heard about Prince's passing, you were: in my basement working. My wife came and said "Hey, I think you might want to go online." "Why?" "...Prince died."
The lesser-known Prince songs you suggest everyone listen to are: "Irresistible Bitch," "Another Lonely Christmas" and a song called "4 the Tears in Your Eyes" from the We Are the World compilation.
Rap pioneer Blowfly also passed away this year. How did recording "The Great Debate" with him come together? A Florida journalist named Tom told me after an interview he was friends with Blowfly. When he told me that, I went on a spiel about how I have so many of his records. We decided the next time I came through Florida, I'd go to the studio and make a record. Warped Tour came through Florida, I took a cab to the studio and wrote right there on the spot and made a record with Blowfly!
Most memorable fan interaction of 2016: There's a couple of fans who've really been dedicated for a long time who live in California. I reached out to them this summer to see if, on a whim, they'd let me fly them in to be in the video for "Seismic Waves." I picked them up at the airport in LaCrosse, WI, we kicked it, and the next night we did the video for "Seismic Waves."
Outdoor performance 2016 you're most proud of: It's a tie. Red Rocks we did sort of a "Welcome to Minnesota" Show. We brought out Lifter Puller, Lizzo, Brother Ali, Last Word and Plain Ole Bill. In Los Angeles, we played The Shrine and sold it out, doing 7,500 tickets with just our homies on the bill, I'm really proud of that.
Most fun outdoor performance of 2016: I probably have to go with The Hard Rock Cafe in Las Vegas on the night Muhammad Ali passed away. They have you perform by the swimming pool, my family was there. Brother Ali was with us, and Ali is such a big deal to him. and it was such a big thing to have a Las Vegas pool party that night.
Best thing you caught fishing in 2016: I only caught a little blue gills when we were with Sway. I'm not big on killing things unless it's a matter of protecting myself. I touched a fish when I was snorkeling in Mexico last week with my son Malcolm, this weird little angelfish. That was cool.
Favorite part about fishing: Serenity.
Your favorite song you recorded this year was: It's a song called "What the Hell.” Hasn't been released yet though.
The most challenging collaboration to organize this year was: It's a song called "What the Hell.” Hasn't been released yet though.
Most memorable live performance you saw this year: Kanye at the Xcel Energy Center.
Album you couldn't stop playing in 2016: A Tribe Called Quest.
When not making music in 2016, you spent the most time: Playing with children and shopping for records.
If someone's celebrating the holidays in Minneapolis this year, you most recommend they check out: Our music scene. World Street Kitchen.
The best thing you read this year was: Twitter.
Hardest part about making music in Minnesota today is: I spend too much time on the road.
The best record you found record hunting was: Too many to name. Original Bo Diddly’s Black Gladiator and original David Axelrod’s Songs Of Experience.
The main goals for Slug to have completed in 2017 by this time next year are: Learn to use TiVo.
See your favorite artists' best and worsts of the year by visiting our 20 Questions page.