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Adventures in Edibles: A Conversation with Atmosphere’s Sean “Slug” Daley

Atmosphere’s Slug outlines his ever-evolving relationship with weed.

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Mi Vida Local serves as Atmosphere's 12th studio album and the follow up to 2016's Fishing Blues. The latter marked the advent of #DadRap, an artistic philosophy which Slug explains draws from his experiences with fatherhood and other grown-up topics/ Dan Monick

Atmosphere’s Sean “Slug” Daley had just kicked off the Mi Vida Local tour when he made a revelatory observation. As he stood in front of the audience at the Gillioz Theatre in Springfield, MO, the Rhymesayers Entertainment co-founder noticed everyone was staring at him. And they weren’t the usual stares that come along with taking the stage. Everyone was looking at him funny.

Granted, he was completely stoned after digesting an ample amount of edibles and simply could’ve been suffering from a case of paranoia. But suddenly it clicked. He’d grown a mustache for an upcoming video shoot in Colorado.

“It was different than what I’m used to,” Slug explains. “I’m trying to figure out like, ‘Why are these people looking at me like this?’ So I brought it up to the audience. ‘Right now, I’m feeling kind of weird about the way you guys are looking at me.’ And as I’m saying this, it dawns on me, ‘Oh man, I have a mustache now and even I’m not used it.’ Nobody is. I look like Cheech. I forgot!”

Slug admits the marijuana-laced products he’d just ingested were to blame for the entire incident.

“I went on this fucking rant about how people treat you differently when you have different kinds of facial hair,” he says. “Usually, I’ve always had this weird little soul patch and people don’t treat you that weird for that. They just kind of laugh at you. With the mustache, people kind of look at me like I’m like I’m supposed to sell them weed. I was fully in the middle of edible world when this was all going on. Had I not been in edible world, this would have not even crossed my mind.”

At 46, Slug’s relationship with cannabis has evolved since first picking it up during his adolescent years. Back then, he essentially couldn’t function without it.

“I couldn’t watch a movie, do laundry or clean my house unless I was stoned,” he says. “It was always anxiety when the bag was empty. Now I don’t know if my anxiety is gone or if I’ve just gotten so sophisticated that the bag never empties. I’m always stocked.”

As a full-time musician, there are times when the law simply won’t allow for him to carry weed with him and he has to get creative. But even on the rare occasion when he does run out, he’s learned to adapt.

“There are times when I fly internationally,” Slug says. “Let’s say I land in the UK. Sometimes I gotta hit up [fellow Rhymesayers MC] Evidence and be like, ‘Hey, you know any people here?’ Sometimes you gotta go a day or two without, and I’ve learned to be okay with that. It’s just one of those things. I don’t think I’m as dependent on it as I used to be. I was younger and more anxious. Now, if it’s there, it’s there. If it’s not, it’s not. It’s just a form of self-medication.”

The #DadRap pioneer has discovered different methods of self-medication—record shopping is one of them—but weed is still at the top of the list.

“Weed is still my favorite form of self-medication, but mostly it’s used as a creative tool or [something] to go along with when I’m in creative spaces,” Slug says. “Although I wouldn’t say it helps bring out writing. I definitely will use it to go back, look and analyze stuff I’ve created before I go into editing to look even deeper. Imagine I’m looking at a painting I made. If I smoke a little weed, it allows me to see more in-depth details that maybe I wasn’t noticing when I was in the middle of the process. Just in general, I’m more analytical and I look harder at things when I’m a little stoned. I’m more cautious.”

The Mi Vida Local tour [wrapped] up in spring 2019. Afterward, Slug will be reunited with his family for a short period of time before hitting the road again. For now, he’s mostly looking forward to getting rid of the mustache. “I’m tired of people staring at me funny,” he says.”

This article originally appeared in the May, 2019 issue. For subscription services, click here.

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