Written by: Julz Mancini
With the hip-hop culture continuously evolving, it is imperative to reflect on its initial foundation in which assisted all artists in becoming what they are today. As a hip-hop artist and/or fan, acquiring the knowledge and respect regarding the creation of Boom Bap will open your third eye and perhaps give you insight on the art of word play, extended metaphors, lyricism, Boom Bap drums, and sampling. Boom Bap, which became popular in the 1980’s, set the tone for all hip-hop music. In today’s industry, it is rare to find artists and producers who stick to the traditional formula of Boom Bap without veering off, becoming lost in an ocean of trap music and mumble rappers. While listening to “Prime”, an album by Manny Megz and Amazen, it was apparent that I had come across this rarity. This project is based on phone calls and how relevant they are as a result of Covid. The listener will hear voicemail clips at the end of many of the songs further proving their significance. A breath of fresh air is what the album is considered; complete with story-telling, deep-felt lyrics, and phenomenal production. In this article, you will be taken on a journey through “Prime”. Mental and emotional preparation is required as it is a guarantee you haven’t heard music like this in a long time.
When creating music, an artist typically speaks from personal experiences, reflecting on the past, present, and future. In the song, “Reflections, Pt. 2”, that is exactly what is portrayed. Amazen speaks veracity with every lyric he records:
While the song plays, the listener cannot help but to reevaluate their own life, thinking about the decisions they have made in the past while facing current obstacles that lie ahead of them. “Reflections Pt. 2” is the perfect song to introduce this project as it shines light on the realities of life.
During the Boom Bap era, some artists focused on communally conscious and political notions. The song “W’s” touches on topics that have recently created turmoil within society, the death of Koby Bryant and Covid to name a few. As Amazen displays his lyrical ability, the beat embraces his voice perfectly. “I’m always burning trees instead of watering seeds. Too scared to grow a garden for I end up like my father”, is what Amazen spits into the mic during the beginning of the song. He continues, “2020 got us jaded. Will I make it through all this? First Koby, now covid…Just look at the numbers and listen to all the rumbling. Gotta get out here and vote or the bag we fumbling.” Utilizing music to communicate a message is what keeps the listener focused throughout the duration of the song. As the album “Prime” continues with Amazen on the mic and Manny Megz on the production, so many messages continue to escape through the speakers and into the ears of the listener.
Freestyle is another key component related to Boom Bap, which allows the artist to display their skills to the audience. The freestyle titled, “10 Fingers of Death”, does just that. This freestyle consists of artists Amazen and Kid Capri, both of whom saturate the track with consistent and witty word play. “I’ve been puttin’ in the work cause you know that’s the mission. Heard Nip say it’s a marathon, I stop sprintin’.” As the track continues to play, lyric after lyric, the listener is in a zone completely attentive to what the artists are saying. “I never see you on the bench. How the f*ck you pushing weight? Can’t be as hungry as us cause you don’t finish your plate.” The aggressive and passionate tone heard during the course of the freestyle allows you to be reminiscent pertaining to freestyles you have witnessed and heard in the past while simultaneously maintaining your concentration on each punch line the artists share with you.
Another favorite, “Inner Mission”, will certainly expand your mind as Amazen broadens your thought process. “ My tantra is to make your mind wander. Activate the third eye, leave your heart blind to hate and being fake. If that’s how they relate, we ain’t fam cause’ they snakes.” Amazen repeatedly speaks his truth in each song, inviting his audience into his mind.
While there are many other tracks within this project, the song “Price of Freedom” was one of the most touching. Manny Megz carefully created the beat, adding male vocals and a voicemail clip (at the end) to ensure the track would hit the soul of the receiver. Amazen delivers relatable and emotional lyrics, “Tell me what it costs to be free. Some of us lost in this life like we ship wrecked at sea. Ain’t see the land in so long. Hope long gone. So hungry, ready to do it all wrong.” We have all hit rock bottom, feeling lost, helpless, and desperate at times. “Price of Freedom” presents raw emotion in which is lacking in today’s music.
This day and age, emotion and longevity have been replaced with aloofness and instant gratification. At a time when our society is currently in turmoil, many will turn to music as an escape. It is an album such as “Prime” that has the ability to change someone’s narrative. It is an artist and producer such as Amazen and Manny Megz whom deserve to be brought to the forefront as naturally gifted artists; whom have the ability to make a difference, not only in the music industry, but in our communities. In the introduction of this article, I described “Prime” as a breath of fresh air. From George Floyd saying, “I can’t breathe” during his last minutes of life to all of society facing a deadly respiratory virus leaving many hypoxic, I think a breath of fresh air is a necessity at this time.
Click on the links below to get better acquainted with Manny Megz and Amazen!
Check out “Prime” on all music platforms by clicking on the link below!
Below you will find the official music video for “Reflections Pt. 2”!