Amateur Prose
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Amateur Prose

Band Hip Hop

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Apr
18
Amateur Prose @ Bard College

Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, USA

Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, USA

Apr
04
Amateur Prose @ Urban Underground - TBA

Los Angeles, California, USA

Los Angeles, California, USA

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Music

Press


The music by Amateur Prose is really good, and they make some incredible beats and sounds on The Hundred Stair EP (Hundred Stair Recordings). One of the guys in the group, Secret Of Crim, handled the production and I found myself wanting to get more into the music, as there's a lot going on. Of course by me saying this about a rap album, it must mean that the rapping itself must not be as good.

Well, it's good, but at times it sounds like something I would prefer to hear on Flight Of The Conchords. One of the guys sounds like a dorky, robotic, news anchor, and the cool thing is that he has some of the best lyrics on here, but the most obnoxious voice. It keeps me from perhaps hearing this in the way it should be heard.

But what is "that way", and what if this is how they want to present themselves? Well to be honest, Amateur Prose do not center around this robot MC, in fact they kind of come off more like a well trimmed Jurassic 5, complete with sing-songy choruses that happen every now and then. While they call themselves Amateur, their prose shows that they know what they're doing. Bustin Fabulous has the higher voice of the three and comes off like the wicked kid with a lot of tricks in his bag, ready for anything that's thrown his way. Then you have kneverknown the halucinagenius, who simply goes by the name of Kneverknown, and is the mid-range MC although far from someone who is middle ground. The third man in the group is Secret Of Crim, whose productions are worthy enough to where I would like to hear a full album of his work. But I believe he is the man with the low rapping voice, and when he drops his rhymes it comes out of left field and somehow manages to balance things fairly well.

I'm curious how they do this live, I wonder if Crim yells like Onyx or if he maintains in a Chali2na-type manner. In the end I like what I hear, with Bustin Fabulous and Kneverknown being the better of the three, and Crim being a producer to watch. There's also an oddball thing going on with the low-voiced rapper and I'm almost waiting for the theme to Tongan Ninja to be done at any given moment.
- John Book


Discography

The Hundred Stair E.P. (2008)

Photos

Bio

Dubbed "Neo-Classical Hip-Hop" by group member Bustin Fabulous, Amateur Prose are a Los Angeles-based hip-hop trio with a sound that is both lyrically progressive and rooted in the classic hip-hop aesthetic. In an age when rappers preach about "keeping it real" while proceeding to make music that sounds like everyone else, Amateur Prose set themselves apart from the crowd by daring to be honest and speaking on issues that are "real" to them. Aided by producer/emcee Secret of Crim's soulful, sample-based production, the crew's content is informed by their every-day experiences, with subject matter ranging from the disgruntled working-man (Work) to the story behind the group's inception (Monday).

Originally named simply "Amateur," the group adopted the word due to its original definition of someone who pursues a hobby for the love and not for money. The word remains appropriate despite its negative connotations, due to the group's self-deprecating lyrics, a quality that's missing in a genre oft-filled with braggadocio. As Crim informs the listener on "Interlude," "I just gotta be true/You could battle me, and I'd probably lose." Recording their music in a bedroom and selling it by hand, Amateur Prose aren't afraid to call themselves "amateurs," for that's exactly what they are. Given the hip-hop scene's increasing discontent with the music of so-called "professionals," perhaps being an amateur nowadays isn't such a bad thing.

Nevertheless, they can be cocky as well, and this is where the "prose" comes in. While in one sense "prose" is an appropriate word to describe the group's literary, introspective lyrics, the three rappers are also "pros" in the sense of their technical skill on the microphone. Fan favorite "Ready Set" features Bustin Fabulous and Secret of Crim trading verses in a four-minute display of pure style and rhyme-play.

"The Hundred Stair E.P.," named after the public staircase where the three would meet to freestyle during high school, is the culmination of three years of writing and growing together as a group. Recorded mainly over summer vacations as the three attended college, the E.P. serves as an introduction to the crew, with a collection of seven of their best songs since the group's inception. Amateur Prose's sound is a rarity. They manage to be seriously dope while not taking themselves too seriously, and unlike many hard-headed rappers, they actually sound like they're enjoying themselves. One listen and chances are you'll enjoy yourself too. Otherwise, like Kneverknown says, "just roll a jammer and smoke/Then you'll be vibin' like, 'man, this shit's dope.'"