Atmosphere's In the Top Five: Indie Hip-Hop Justice?

The latest SoundScan figures are in, and, for a second straight week, the nation’s best-selling LP – by a long shot -- belongs to Miss Mariah. The hilariously named E=MC2, sold nearly 182,000 copies. But, let’s face it -- La Diva’s run at the top will almost certainly be cut short next week, when Madonna’s Hard Candy enters the Top 200. Madge could take on Mariah on the shelves and on the mat.

But the most interesting thing about next week’s chart, though, has to be Atmosphere, whose latest set, When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That S--- Gold, enters the chart at #5. Considering the Minneapolis hip-hop duo’s still on the fringe, it was surprising to see that their record sold 36,400 copies in its first week -- not shabby at all for MC Slug (above) and producer Ant, who’ve thrived on their underground cred since getting together back in the mid-90’s.

Maybe their hipster cred has finally reached a boiling point? Or maybe it’s the guest-vocal props from Tom Waits and TV on the Radio’s Tunde Adebimpe? Then again, Atmosphere’s long been a slow burn -- they’re one of the best-selling indie hip-hop acts of the last decade, rebuffing a few major-label offers in their day. Or maybe it’s Slug’s completely tripped-out lyrics.

What do you think helped Atmosphere break through?

Check out Slug talking about the making of the album, after the jump.