I no longer will judge you, Bukowski, by the tiny clip of you kicking the shit out of your girlfriend (I’d seen the whole documentary not just the clip and it had disturbed me). Nor will I judge you Slug, by your womanizing.
I’ve had issues with Slug (of Atmosphere fame) because of the widespread gossip of his womanizing. An ex of mine (and friend of Slug’s), who is as I see it also a womanizer, would even occasionally mention some of Slug’s behavior as womanizing. I like Slug’s music, love his music but wouldn’t allow myself to admit it. How could I like someone who occasionally behaved in ways I was totally against?
El Oso and I even discussed it a few years back when I mentioned I was going to an Atmosphere show:
I’m jealous. Although, last night I was talking to the person who first introduced me to Atmosphere on a mix tape (ah the lost art of the mix tape) which had The Woman With The Tattooed Hands on it. She said she forever lost her faith in Slug when she saw him live. He was bringing up random girls on stage, making out with them, then talking shit and kicking them off. It’s a second hand account and rappers don’t have to be heroes, but I certainly expected something more from someone as thoughtful (ie. full of thought) as Slug.”
The ex who would mention Slug’s treatment of women, is also a decently well known musician, and he spoke more about his admiration for Slug then he did of the womanizing. He would speak of Slug’s dedication to his music, to his work. He’d tell me about Slug always working while on tour, always working to get his name out there. Slug, himself, has rhymed about that struggle and the sacrifices that he has made because of his self-promotion. My ex stated that he would never be as well known as Slug, for many reasons but for one, because he would never be willing to work at it as hard as Slug had or give-up time with his own children.
It was today that I realized how hard Slug, Atmosphere, have worked at their music. Today I turned on my car radio and their song “You” was playing. Later I heard the same song coming out of a parked car in the parking lot of the welfare office. As I drove home from work today an SUV pulled up along side next to me with the same song playing. At happy hour with my girlfriend, she mentioned hearing an interview on BBC with Slug today and how she was shocked the BBC was interviewing him.
I’ve got to admit it Slug has worked hard and deserves all he can get. He shouldn’t be judged by a small part of his life, but as a whole person, and like all of us, he isn’t perfect.
It is unfair for El Oso, my ex, or myself to judge Slug on rumors or even small parts of his life. We can in fact, and do, still admire Slug, as El Oso put it a few years ago: “Slug could very well be my favorite poet of his generation.”
And I think El Oso is right. Atmosphere’s new album is one of my favorite albums of all time. Respect given where respect is deserved; Slug is an amazing poet and a hard worker. Keep up the good work Slug, and if you come to Columbus, I’ll make you a home cooked meal.
You can listen to some Atmosphere here, some Slug here, or listen to the You song (as well as some other new songs) here.