Who: deM Atlas
Location: St. Paul, Minnesota
Recent Projects: MF deM (2016)
Songs to Check out:
Atlas is one of rappers on this list who has already made a spot for himself in the game, having been signed to record label Rhymesayers, now in the company of artists like Aesop Rock, Atmosphere, Brother Ali, and MF DOOM. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone to see that he is a special artist. His music is a nice mix of reggae and jazz roots and has a bit of a retro vibe that is expected to come from an who has worked with the likes of DOOM.
If you’re into very well executed mellow music, deM Atlas is another rapper to definitely look into. Not really in the style of Earl Sweatshirt or similar artists, but more of what you’d think the white dude with dreads from your high school listens to when he’s not listening Bob Marley or Mac Miller. Especially in DWNR (2014), he shows that he generally likes to mold a song around his lyrics and vocal range. You’ll often find pretty simple beats that let him get creative with how he wants a song to sound. This lends to a pretty wide range of music available in his discography, but I’d say he definitely excels in the more mellow type music.
deM provides a very accurate cross-section of a young adult, which is rare for many rappers. While people often generally trend towards either rapping about the negative parts of their life and their struggle or towards how they’re on the come up and balling out; Atlas is just honest. He doesn’t have a ton of angst or a ton of unbridled hope, he’s just a guy talking about what happens in his life. It makes his music very accessible, which is great because he’s another person who, in general, doesn’t have a ton of radio appeal. He’s definitely worth a look (obviously, otherwise he wouldn’t be on the list), he’s currently actively touring, so expect for more work to come out once he finishes.
In my interview with atlaS, we spoke about fellow artists from the Twin Cities area like Corbin, talked about his other artistic pursuits, and spoke on what the death of Prince meant to him and his city. You can read about it below.
When I said I was going to do deM for this project, I almost immediately had a redditor reach out to me and talk about the kind of person he is. Here’s what they had to say about the Twin City artist.
I saw dem is on your list and I’m from St. Paul so I just wanted to tell you something that you may not find on the web.
Last time I went to a Dem atlaS show, afterwards he was sitting in the handicapped stall in the womens bathroom with a line of like 50 people outside of it all waiting to talk to him. People would just sit down and they’d chat for a while then someone would get up and leave and another person would take their place. He’s a really down to earth guy who just loves making connections. I heard he does that at this really small art/rap cafe in the middle of Lowertown randomly as well.
None of this really comes as a surprise to me, when talking to him he seemed like an incredibly genuinely and down to earth guy. He took Prince’s train of thought and talked about how he doesn’t like calling people “Fans” but rather “Fam”. He’s a great guy and I would highly recommend checking him out and supporting him.