Interview with Slug from Atmosphere

by Ann Noyd, June 2003


Could you please introduce yourself?

My name is Sean Daley, some people call me Slug, I rap in a group called Atmosphere (for more info peep Rhymesayers.com). I'm an okay rapper, I could be better, I could be worse.

How many times have you been in Denmark?

This is my second time coming to Århus, first time is almost three years ago now, long time ago.

What's your impression of Denmark?
People here like to have a good time, they like to party, have fun, they stay up late, they drink a lot. The girls are pretty, the food is good, it's a pretty place, nice scenery, lots of trees.

Then can you describe Minneapolis, where you're from, for us?
It's a pretty place, lot of trees, the food is good, the girls are pretty..it's like Denmark! Except we have different money.
So you're almost Danish!
Yeah, not almost famous, I'm almost Danish.

What are you working on currently?
I just finished a new record that will probably come out in September, everything else is tour-based. The upcoming tour is going to be a big one in the states, then Australia in the fall. That's pretty much it.

Could you talk a little bit about your latest album?
Oh it's terrible, really bad, don't buy it –steal it, no don't steal it, stealing is bad, borrow it from a friend and burn a copy
Or download it from the internet maybe?
Sure, that's what I would do.

Can you tell me a little about the title “God Loves Ugly”?
I'm ugly, God loves me, God loves ugly.

How, why are you ugly?

It's hereditary, from my parents.

So it's your looks that are ugly, not your personality?

No, I'm like an angel without wings.

Why do you think that God loves ugly people?
Because she allows us to accomplish much more based on what we have inside. I think it's harder for beauty to recognize beauty…you're asking weird questions… what do you believe?
People who were born with beauty and didn't have to work for it, don't really learn how to work that hard whereas somebody who is maybe blind or hurt, who suffers a handicap is forced to work harder than other people and especially beautiful people. And I think it is important to work hard and know how to, because in the end you achieve more that way, I think there's more smiling upon you when you actually deserve what you receive opposed to just having things handed to you. Does that make sense?

What is the differences between this album and the Lucy Ford EP ?
Each record reflects the feelings that were present at the time it was made.
With Lucy Ford there was a lot more frustration and aggression, and the record before that, was all about "her" (Lucy Ford).

So now you're back together with your girlfriend?
(Slug nods)

I've been reading some of your interviews and it's clear you have a great respect for women.
Thank you, I've got a good mom.

You even said in one interview that men are only good at two things, do you remember what those things were?

I don't remember that, but I believe I've said that.
Shoveling snow off the sidewalk and mowing the lawn, and women can do both of those, so men are pretty much pointless. We need men around so they can help make more babies, so we can have more people.

Would you like to be a woman?
No… that's too much responsibility, I'm kind of lazy. I don't know if I can handle being a woman, but I'm sure I've got plenty of friends that are like “Oh he's such a girl”.

Why?

Because I whine a lot. They say I'm too emotional, I don't know how that has anything to do with being a girl, you know.  I don't know why… ask me questions I know the answers to!

Are you ever going to make a jiggy song like a duet with Ashanti or Missy Elliott?
I would make a song with Missy Elliott just cause I think she's pretty. Ashanti? –Naaah.
I won't make a song about a car or... actually that's a lie, I did make a song about my car, I'll try not to lie in my songs. I won't do songs about things I don't do. I try to keep things in perspective of who I am and how I really am as a person. I don't believe in fantasy songs, I try to keep songs based in reality, even when I'm storytelling, I'll make sure that the song is based on something that I really believe in.

You believe that God and the devil are females?
Yes, I believe in creation and that it stems from the mother, whether you perceive that as a woman or as nature, I personify that in the feminine because creation comes from the mother.

Are you religious?
I'm not religious, I mean I believe, but I don't practice. To me religion is based on practice, everybody has beliefs. Religion is a controlled or at least organized way of thinking.
I don’t really cater to that. I believe in myself and I have faith in my surroundings, I believe in balance and in karma, I don't believe in an unseen hand controlling things, I believe in fate but only in the sense that you manifest your own destiny.

This whole ugly thing…I read that you are a sex-symbol in underground hip-hop, in one particular interview where you were told this, you reacted by comparing yourself to Ricky Martin?
I said that???
Yeah you did.
I got misquoted, I meant Ricky Richardo (from "I Love Lucy").

Okay, then let's move on to talk about the DVD you've done.
Yeah, it's garbage –don't buy it, download it, steal it –no don't steal it- borrow it.
What is it about?
It's life footage, backstage, tour-footage, I'm in the van, I'm outside of the van, a few homemade videos that I made myself, yeah it's just a whole bunch of garbage, but it's got a few new songs on that nobody's heard before. It hasn't got interviews or anything like that, I made it to give people an idea of what it's like for me to tour, you know, how it's like to do shows, be on the road.

I heard you did everything on the dvd by yourself?
I didn't film it, because I was performing, but a friend of mine followed us around and filmed. He gave us the tapes afterwards and then I did everything else from there, except there's an animated video on there which another friend of mine made. But everything else, the editing... I felt it was important that I did it myself so that it would come out with my personality in it, and I wanted to learn how to use computers for this, cause I'm not really good at it, doing the DVD taught me a lot about using computers. Does it make sense?

If you're doing so much garbage, why are you putting it out then?
Because people let me. When they tell me to stop, I'll stop.

So it's really the people being stupid?

No, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, isn't that what they say? So if they appreciate what I'm doing, I'll keep doing it, you know. I don't think it's that good, but I'm not here to make myself feel good about myself. And I do it because it's fun and I enjoy it and people seem to appreciate it, so maybe some kid in Denmark will rap and make a really good album, and someone will someday ask: “Who inspired you?” and he`ll say “Kool G Rap and Slug”and there I go, there's my reason.

So your goal is to inspire people?
It's one of the goals, yeah. And be a positive influence on hip-hop for as long as I can, even if I stop rapping and instead promote shows or drive the vans, I want to stay involved and play a role.

Do you have any favorite film directors?
I like what everybody else likes, I like Scorsese, Jim Jarmusch, I like the basic stuff. I'm not so eclectic, I'm kind of a dummy, but I'm not a vegetarian.

Do you produce?
Not yet.
Do you plan to?
No plans. I take it as it comes.

Do you play any instruments?
No, not really, but instruments are around me all the time you know, she (Rita) plays the guitar and I've got friends that play.

What is your greatest fear?
I've got a son, and I'm always paranoid about him falling off his bike and getting hit by a car. My fear is of losing things that I love.

No fear of hights, spiders and so on?

No, I don't like hights but I don't freak out, and bugs I don't care about, I step on them. I'm afraid of tigers and sharks. I'm afraid of girls… girls scare me.
Why?
Because they're scary and intimidating and they have guns.

Are you political in your lyrics?
I try to keep them somewhat ambigious, but yeah, I am a lot. I tuck them in there so that you think I'm talking about a girl. I do influence people in a political way, but I keep it very subliminal. I use women as a metaphor for a lot of things, I don't really like to wear it all on my sleave, I don't believe in preaching to the choir.
It's like children; they don't like to eat vegetables, but they like to eat candy. You have to learn how to put sugar on the vegetables and then they don't even know they're eating the vegetables.

So is she your girlfriend? (I look towards Rita)
Yeah it's Rita, (talks her into letting me interview her).

(To Rita)

How long have you been dating?
On and off for like six years.

And you're also from Minneapolis?
Yes.

How would you describe Sean?
Crazy! (laughs) Crazy and cute. And difficult and very ugly.
Slug: You called me difficult! You're fired!
Rita: You are difficult!
Slug: I break up with you. I'll find a new girlfriend.
Rita: Sometimes he's mean. No. I'm just kidding, I don't think he's ugly at all.

How old are you Slug?
30

and you Rita?
24

Slug, you think you're old?

I feel old.

Is that because you're in hiphop and everybody else seem to be sixteen?
No, it's because I'm really, really, really intelligent.
I was just joking about being intelligent.

(to Rita)
 

Isn't it hard to date someone who says he loves ugly women?
Oh Sean loves all women, it doesn't matter if they're ugly, or pretty.
Sean: Yeah!? What made you think I love ugly women?

How do you feel about that Rita?
It comes with the territory. Doesn't really bother me. He comes home to me every night.

Rita, are you a poet?
Am I a poet? No, I play in a band, but I'm definitely not a poet.


What is the most annoying part about Sean?

Hmm.. that he's never home.
Sean: Oh you like it! You like when I'm gone.
Slug: She gets to go date boys. She's got groupies.

Rita, you must have admirers being Slugs girlfriend? (and the inspiration to so many songs)
No.. people want me to be something I'm not. For them it's the opportunity to put a face or a name on the idea. I get a lot that I'm the woman with the tatooed hands, that I'm Lucy, but I'm not. I think Lucy is more of a concept. It may have startet with Sean being very mad at me and writing these songs, then it developed into something bigger and better.

But then, in a sense you are her?

I think the idea started with me, but it evolved like everything else, kinda like the ape became man, that's what happened to Lucy.
You're the ape?
Yeah I'm the ape, no I'm more like the little fucking rat-thing that crawled out the water before it became an ape.

(To Slug)
Don't you have to stay unhappy to make the lyrics you write?
Well there's so many reasons to be unhappy, you never run out of reasons to be unhappy.

Do you like being unhappy?

It's a trick question… nobody likes to be unhappy.
But if it makes you a good artist?
Then you're just a miserable artist.
Rita: I think some of us were just born with a different mindframe. Part of why we get along so well is that Sean and I will allways find something to be unhappy about.
 
How did you two meet?
Through a mutual friend.
Rita: I didn't like him a first, I hated him, I thought he was mean.
Why?
Because he was making fun of me.
How?
Rita (asks Slug): Can I tell her?
Slug: No comment. No comment!
(She starts explaining it to me and Slug wrestles her, covering her mouth with his hand).

If you were a cartoon-figure, which one would you be?
Slug: Scooby Doo.
Why, are you clumsy? Or are you a dog?
I guess a little of both... I don't know which cartoon figure I'd be…
(Slug calls Dibbs and Jay-Bird) “Guys, if I were a cartoon-figure, which one would I be?”
(the guys answer and Slug repeats) Tasmanian Devil??? Because I consume everything.

People around you seem to think you're mean?
Slug: (to Rita) You called me mean!
Rita: Well, you're arrogant.
Slug: I'm Pepe le Pew.
Who?
The Warner Bros. cartoon, the animal that's always trying to get laid with a cat.


  
Check out the look on Slug's face when Static & Nat Ill performed. 









Thanks to everyone helping me with the hook-ups for the interview:
Atmosphere, Dennis, Kenneth K, Will Lemke, beautiful Anna from Århus, Peter from DNA, K-V, 
Klaus Køhl and last but not least Jøden: one of the nicest people in danish hip-hop.

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