Sean Daley, aka Slug, from the 90s/00s group Atmosphere, was asked if he ever had a nemesis.
Yasi Salek, your question game is… respect. I love this question. I’m envious I’ve never asked it, and mostly, I’m really excited with how “Mr. Slug” answered.
Given the time and era, it would make sense. In the late 90s, the music industry got cutthroat. If you found any form of scalable success, you had to face the “sellout” label. On one side was MTV with potentially profitable distribution deals, and on the other side was obscurity with rabid fan loyalty (and judginess).
Atmosphere walked up to the major label line and walked away. They outgrew fans, earned new ones, and as is always the case – found plenty of people to piss off and let down.
Slug never had a nemesis though.
In either age direction. I think this is what Yasi was asking the question for. I think his answer is why I’m so interested.
The older guys, who he was doing something different from, they respected him. The younger kids who came up behind him, who you might think he’d say, “They just don’t get it” to – he’s cool with most of them too.
All because of one little trick.
Always tell your elders – the people who you respect – how much they’ve inspired you. Tell them what you’ve learned. How important they’ve been to your journey.
If you reach out and tell them, then they’re more likely to root for you instead of against you.
So when you’re on your way up, you tell whoever you meet at the to the ways you appreciate them.
And mean it. Because you do. Because it’s cool to meet your idols. Because hey, they DID IT FIRST.
They’ll root for you because they see you trying too. You remind them of themselves. Plus, you make liking you back easy by leading with respect.
Later, when you get closer to the top, you look for the same.
Not because you need the ego stroke, although it probably doesn’t hurt. You look for the same because when somebody tells you what you’ve meant to them, you root for them too. You can’t hate that. Or at least you shouldn’t.
That’s how Slug never had a nemesis.
He told LL Cool J how much he loved him once. Then years later, Logic, who was following in Slug’s footsteps, told him how much he appreciated what Atmosophere did.
If you don’t want to have a nemesis, cheer for people above and below you.
Good rule for life.
And here’s “Guns and Cigarettes” which I should probably write a whole post about. These lyrics hit differently (and I bet 50ish year old Slug is amused by 30ish year old Slug).
Ps. this track… I missed it when it came out. R.A. The Rugged Man, “Golden Oldies (feat. Slug of Atmosphere).” I love R.A., and this made me laugh (if you don’t know the lemonade reference, click here and scroll to the dwyck link). This is the post-backpack rap, Blink 182 treatment of middle-age I need.