You may have first come across producer Amp Live over a
decade ago as one half of the Bay Area hip-hop duo Zion I. At the time, there were certainly
indications that he wasn’t content to craft traditional hip-hop beats. Instead,
at times he tricked out Zumbi’s rhymes with a smooth background of LTJ Bukem-style drum and bass. It was clear this
producer had club and dance music stylings on his mind as much as hip-hop
Now, on his new solo album Murder At The Dicotek, Amp Live has fully realized those leanings.
Although guest MCs including Yak Ballz, Myka Nyne, and The Grouch put in
appearances, the through-line here is
slinky club beats and techno and electro sequencing. Tracks like “Blast Off”
and “About to Blow” are certified electro-pop anthems, while “Chick Pop”
breathes life into dance music via programmed beats and chunky guitar lines.
“Hot Right Now” is a classic posse cut, with rappers like Eligh, Dude Royal, and Fashawn letting loose over a
minimal electro beat that would feel
right at home on a Cool Kids record.
Even when Amp Live is staying close to his hip-hop roots, he
is pushing the boundaries of the genre and forging his own path. It wouldn’t be
surprising if this album causes many a forward-thinking MC to come calling for
some new beats.
Standout Tracks: “Hot Right Now,” “Chick Pop” JONAH FLICKER