Tuesday, September 2, 2008

King Amper Rock's Lost album

You may remember King Amper Rock (or King Amperock... it's always fun when even the artist can't decide how we should spell his name) for his opening joint on Red Alert's 4th tape (or 5th if you count the reggae one), Kool DJ Red Alert Presents, "Check Me Out Baby." One of the stand-out elements of those tapes were the exclusive tracks. Well, on the earlier ones it was for the great rare records, but then as the track-listings got closer and closer to volumes of MTV Dance Party, it was the exclusives that kept us coming back.

Not a lot is known about Amper Rock. A single listen of "Check Me Out Baby" will forever imprint upon your brain the fact that he's from Uptown, and I know his real name is William Brown; but that's about it. Like pretty much all of the Red Alert exclusives, it was a hot joint; but disappointingly Amper Rock never seemed to follow it up with any of his own records.

A 5th Ave party announcement in 2003 (do a google search for "King Amperock"), promised that he'd drop his new single, "Bobble Head," but it never happened [if anyone can prove me wrong and unearth a copy, I'd love to hear about it!]. He seemingly just disappeared forever.

Except I've found a copy of this demo tape album of his from 1998! It's called Mob Wars on 145 Hun Forty Fif Recordings. It's eleven tracks deep (plus some skits), and it's damn nice. The production, all handeled by a cat named Brown Eyes, may sound a little low-budget; but if you're in the market for gritty, NY street rap, this is it in spades.

It opens up with some straight east coast criminology rap, with a delivery as smooth as Nas or AZ in their heyday:

"Tuesday, around two thirty,
There was a beef about bandits movin' on our territory.
I locked the spot up, jumped into the Expedition,
Venturin' towards my man on a kill 'em all mission.
These niggas threatened my life, my moms and my wife.
I gotta do this cat personally: an eye to the knife.
A term used by crews when you're slayin' dudes who fronted:
Look 'em in the eye, stab 'em in the stomach.
This I wanted while gettin' blunted - their days are numbered,
Without authorization or properly bein' funded.
So I'm doin' 85 on the Harlem River Drive,
Headin' down the Concourse then change my course.
Parkin' between One Eighty Third and One Eighty Fourth,
Right at the top of the hill where Cubans down with Rastas,
The crack vial kings, Seventh Ave mobstas,
The hitmen representin' the cash flow,
Intendin' to blow, dealin' the snow; and a-yo,
The connect is on tomorrow, at one oh oh."

On other tracks like "9ins in Rhymes," he just represents with verses of freestyle lyrics between a hardcore hook, "I got nines in rhymes that blast off as chrome shines/ Smack bitch-ass niggas on gates for shortin' weight/ Move keys in states from New York to Delaware/ Prepare to shoot with this gansgta shit here." The subject doesn't vary much from those two subjects (though he gets into some gritty sexual conquest tales on "Bag Dyme Pieces"), but he flexes over some different type tracks as the album goes on... "Laid Back Smooth Shit" is exactly what it says it sis, and his voice blends as perfectly with the slower drums and sparse piano as it did over the tougher, hardcore tracks earlier. By the time you get to "Take It Uptown Ampe!" which features a hype track with a DJ constantly rubbing in the drums and blaring horn-like sounds, the production grows from low-fi-but-rugged to straight hip-hop perfection. Sometimes the quality dips a bit, but if he could've just afforded one or two Premiere and Large Pro beats to fill in the potholes, you'd practically have Illmatic 2 on your hands.

So now, if Amp disappeared forever, I guess I wouldn't have a myspace link or anything for him, right? No wai! I found him [that's why this post took so long.]- he's changed his name to Frank Villain (or F. vLN) and started a clothing line ("Frank Villain is an original stylish clothing line, specializing in apparel for men, women and children. Frank Villain is the name of tomorrow and the face of what's new in fashion. We strive to be the best there is in clothing design."). So, yeah, he actually has two myspaces: this one is fuller, with two tracks (good stuff, too), but hasn't been logged into since May, 2006; and this one which is newer but has less content.

No comments:

Post a Comment