When Atmosphere revealed its tracklist for Southsiders, which landed at #8 in its first week on the Billboard Top 200 Albums chart, many were surprised by one of the song titles on the effort, “Kanye West.” 

In an exclusive interview with HipHopDX, Slug says he added West’s name to the cut “because the song is about being in love so hard, that it makes people think that you don’t care, that you don’t give a fuck.”

“[It’s] about loving something so much and being so passionate, that it makes the people who don’t understand feel like you’re trippin’,” he continues. “I think people try to hate on him without people realizing that he cares a lot, man. He really loves shit a lot.

“People think he’s egotistical, but man, whatever,” Slug adds. “We’re all egotistical. We all got egos. He’s in a position that his ego has seen a lot more than the average person. His circumstances are that, you know, you’re even seeing elements of his ego. Most people don’t see your ego, so they’re not looking at where his passion is actually coming from. He’s got a lot of love, man. That’s what that song is about, love. Passion and love.” 

This isn’t the first time Slug’s used a celebrity name as a song title. In 2002, for example, he teamed up with Murs to release A Tribute To Christina Ricci as Felt. The album featured two songs named after celebrities, “Suzanne Vega” and “Rick James.”

“When we made ‘Rick James,’ we were trying to get our audience to use ‘Rick James’ as a slang term,” Slug says, reflecting on the track. “We were also hoping ‘Rick James’ would come to mean what YOLO ended up meaning. Like ‘Why aren’t you wearing a helmet?’ ‘Aw, Rick James.'” 

Beyond Felt’s first album, the duo’s discography shows a fondness for this practice. Felt’s second album, 2005’s A Tribute To Lisa Bonet, for instance, features “Morris Day” and “Marvin Gaye.” The twosome’s 2009 album, A Tribute To Rosie Perezfeatures “Paul Reubens” and “Kevin Spacey.” 

Atmosphere is slated to perform at this weekend’s Soundset 2014 along with Wiz Khalifa, Nas, 2 Chainz and Cypress Hill, among others. The event takes place May 25.  

The video for “Kanye West” is below.

Photograph By: Dan Monick

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