Today in Hip Hop History: Overcast!

Overcast! (1997)

August 5, 1997

Legendary (and lightweight cult-like) underground hip hop group Atmosphere released their debut studio album, Overcast!, through their independent record label, Rhymesayers Entertainment, in 1997. Atmosphere consisted, at the time, of two MCs, Slug and Spawn, in addition to a DJ/Producer, Ant. After the release of Overcast!, Spawn left the group for personal reasons, and the two remaining members continue to make music under Atmosphere to this day.

Overcast! succeeds their EP of the same name, which they had released earlier that year. The album’s cover art is inspired by that of Judgment! by jazz pianist Andrew Hill, which was released in 1964.

Judgment! (1964)

Judgment! (1964)

Overcast! was completely produced by Ant, mixed by Stress, and featured fellow Rhymesayers rapper Beyond (aka Musab aka Sab the Artist). It was recorded from 1996-1997 in Ant’s basement, and released via CD only.

The album is widely respected amongst the independent and underground hip hop scene, and considered one of the best independent hip hop debut albums of all time. Songs like “1597”, “Sound is Vibration”, and “Scapegoat” prevail as underground classics, alongside the entire album itself. Hip hop artists like Atmosphere, Company FlowTech N9NE, and MF Doom, among others, paved the way for independent hip hop and DIY releases at a time where mainstream hip hop was struggling.

Stream Overcast! below, and let us know what you think of the classic in the comments.

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