The Sad Clown Bad Dub series first started as a string of limited cassette tapes and CD-R's for Atmosphere to sell exclusively on tour. Since its inception in 1999, the Sad Clown series has seen over a dozen iterations in numerous formats, including rare 4-track demos, live recordings, a DVD of behind-the-scenes tour footage, a mixtape, 7” vinyl singles and more. To this day, one of the earliest volumes – Sad Clown Bad Dub 2 – still remains one of the most celebrated and coveted installments from the series.
Originally released in 2000, Sad Clown Bad Dub 2 was a rather stripped-down DIY release – a simple CD tucked behind an illustrated cover with handwritten tracklist and liner notes. The recordings were equally as rough, consisting of a dozen raw 4-track demos that hadn't been treated to any sort of mixing or mastering. Although Atmosphere initially produced only 500 copies of these CD's to sell on the road for extra cash, the buzz and the subsequent demand from fans eventually led the group to pressing more of the CD's, this time stamping the cover art with the phrase "Authorized Bootleg" as a sly nod to those who'd been ripping and sharing the files. The unpolished nature of Sad Clown Bad Dub 2 was no deterrent from the appeal of its contents though.
Generally considered an underground classic in hip-hop circles, Sad Clown Bad Dub 2 is often mentioned as one of the standout releases in Atmosphere's extensive discography. It is a deeply introspective project that explores a range of complex thoughts and emotions, counter-balanced by occasional moments of darkly humorous sarcasm and wit. Slug's writing is sharp and insightful with a knack for turning his personal struggles into universal themes that listeners can relate to. Ant's production is minimalistic, moody, even eclectic in nature, full of atmospheric textures and unconventional rhythms. This release is very clearly one of the early stepping stones in developing their unique and distinctive sound together, helping to establish their reputation as one of the most innovative and boundary-pushing acts in hip-hop.
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