Breaking into the Hip Hop game, and getting paid to live off of the art you love, is not easy. The entertainment field is no joke, think about all those would be actors bussing tables trying to break through in Hollywood. The Hip Hop industry is not much different. As an artist, you have to ask yourself some tough questions. Who is my core audience? Is it a large enough group to support feeding my family? Do I have the core following to go the independent route? Am I willing to water my stuff down to appeal to the Pop Hop radio stations? These are all questions to be answered even before thinking about how to approach labels. Welcome Amplafire to the fun. With his first LP ...Finally, Amplafire makes his bid for Hip Hop mass appeal.
With only one full listen through the 15 track cd, I can tell that Amplafire is no rookie on the mic. His delivery, flow, and cadence are on-point. It’s only after repeated spins that you get the sense that Amplafire is selling himself short, what I hear is a true school mc trying to fit into the formula of what’s defined as hot in today’s throwaway rap world. Amp sticks to the make me hot script by serving up his hardcore song “Can’t Deny,” the for the ladies/club cut “Pause,” and the trendy down south blah that is “Money Mayn,” which includes the hook, you guessed it, “…gotta get my money mayn...” At least he left out the industry trend conscious track found on numerous releases these days. Nothing groundbreaking here, lyrics like “In the fast lane speeding with my gun on my side,” seem too basic coming from the commanding voice of Amplafire. The LP is filled with some, I’m better than you type ish, which is in many ways the definition of rap, but the true hip hop head needs more in 2005. Tired clichés aren’t going to cut it, and I won’t even comment on the case of wack hook syndrome found on ...Finally.
It’s not all bad though, track two, “Out In These Streets,” takes listeners back with some nice Gangstarr/Buckshot/Prodigy samples that are blended into the head nodding beat. Various songs incorporate the lost art of scratching, which seem to fit the more hardcore toned Amplafire. “Don’t Love Me” and “Ear Hustlin’'” are stand-out tracks, the first showing Amplafire's ability to spit heartfelt lyrics, while not coming off corny. I also have to give credit to Amp for his willingness to experiment with rhyming over different types of beats. The rock tinged “Feel the Rush” displays a more creative side to his soundscape.
Mediocrity is everywhere these days, everyone and their brother is an M.C. If Amplafire wants to be recognized beyond his hometown, and take his career to the next level, its time to get back to the lab. Message to all up and comers; along with the questions posed above, I suggest you take it one step further and ask yourself, What sets me apart from the next man? What do I bring to the table in this art that is Hip Hop? Step your game up, Amplafire included.