Rapper Ant and producer Slug mine songs from the earth in Atmosphere

Despite its name, Atmosphere, the Minneapolis-based duo of rapper Slug and producer Ant (an Aesop's fable in waiting if ever there were one), has spent the bulk of its career mining songs from the earth.

As an MC, Slug, born Sean Daley 44 years ago, has always been brutally confessional. “I wear my scars like the rings on a pimp,” he rapped on the title track of the group's 2002 breakout album God Loves Ugly. “I live life like the captain of a sinking ship.”

In the years since, Slug has managed to mature while maintaining his warts-and-all approach, turning out songs about marriage, fatherhood and finding sobriety, even going so far as to label his style “#DadRap” in a summer 2016 Twitter post. That's not to say, of course, the MC shies from his usual self-evisceration — “I'm a feminist/I'm also a misogynist,” he confesses on “Perfect,” a tongue-in-cheek-titled cut off this year's admittedly uneven Fishing Blues — pairing songs about past misdeeds and societal ills (the police-brutality-inspired “Pure Evil” is a highlight) with comparatively inspirational verses about finding better ways forward.