Dex Amora
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Dex Amora

Seattle, Washington, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2012

Seattle, Washington, United States
Established on Jan, 2012
Solo Hip Hop Alternative


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos


The best kept secret in music


"Six Seattle rappers to watch"


Though this 20-year-old transplant is originally from Minneapolis, he has some Seattle connections. His father was part of Minnesota’s indie hip-hop imprint Rhymesayers, which released albums by Seattle artists such as Grayskul, Grieves and Boom Bap Project, and the label also frequently enlisted the production talents of Seattle’s Jake One and Vitamin D. Last year’s “HerbsPenSoul” and “AURA” saw Amora improving his deft, conscious lyrics, delivered over retro-minded, organic beats. His next release should be a must-hear for those partial to that golden-age revivalist sound. - Seattle Times

"Genres thread together in ‘Jazz, Hip-Hop and the Avant-Garde’"

A lot of jazz lovers cringe when they hear hip-hop, which is too bad, since the two genres share so much rhythmically and thematically. When it comes to sophisticated syncopation and surprise, the pop and crackle of a good MC is often right up there with Charlie Parker.
Perhaps the triumph of Kendrick Lamar’s brilliantly cinematic “To Pimp A Butterfly,” which draws deeply on jazz roots, will open some ears again in the ways Digable Planets did so long ago.

In the meantime, stellar Seattle drummer Chris Icasiano — associated with Seattle’s avant-garde label Table & Chairs — has programmed an eclectic night called Jazz, Hip-Hop and the Avant-Garde at Lo-Fi Performance Gallery Thursday (Feb. 25) that tries to illuminate the threads that tie these genres together.

The concert features four groups, showcasing some of Seattle’s most creative young musicians.
Dex Amora, a 22-year-old MC originally from Minnesota, comes from an arts background. His father was a member of the RhymeSayers collective, his mother a spoken-word poet. Dex makes chill tracks under blankets of synth sound. A rising star, he has performed at Capitol Hill Block Party and Bumbershoot.

Bad Luck is Icasiano’s duo with hell-bent-for-leather saxophonist Neil Welch, who can sail to the stars with Albert Ayler-like abandon but also zero in on lyrical moments.

Bubbles & Bananas is a new collaboration between bassist Evan Flory-Barnes, of the popular indie-jazz group Industrial Revelation, and clarinetist Beth Fleenor, one of the most creative and technically brilliant improvisers in the Emerald City.

Finally, the show features JCB WST, a Seattle-born MC based in Los Angeles who recently signed to Public Enemy’s label Bring the Noise. (He also happens to be Icasiano’s cousin.) This will be JCB WST’s hometown debut. - Seattle Times

"Rising Local Rap Star Dex Amora on the Anime, Boom-Bap, and Bus Rides that Inspire Him"

For all his accomplishments, Dex Amora is remarkably humble. The 21-year-old MC, born Mika’il Atiq, is rising in the Seattle rap scene, readying to play his biggest show yet—Capitol Hill Block Party. But when I meet Amora for a late breakfast at Glo’s on Capitol Hill, talking over blueberry pancakes and eggs, he makes sure to tell me of the importance of his day job:
“I feel like it’s something I need. Not necessarily serving tables, but being of service to people,” Amora says. “ ’Cause a lot of cats, once they start getting up in the rap shit, or anything for that matter, they start believing that they’re better than others.”
When he’s not waiting tables, Amora is making chilled-out, classically minded hip-hop. On the mic, Amora’s lyrics are adept, his flow impeccable. He attributes his ability to carry a rhythm to eight years spent playing the drums. Tellingly, Amora’s two favorite MCs are CL Smooth and Tajai of Souls of Mischief; he favors the same type of jazzy, sample-heavy production and the deft, lyrically dense flows that defined much of their work back in the day.
Amora spent most of his formative years in Minneapolis, going back and forth to Seattle to see his mom over winter breaks and summers. He didn’t officially move here until 2012, when he transferred to Garfield halfway through his senior year. He happened upon the nearby Garfield Teen Life Center, where he recorded his first two projects, Emergence EP and HerbsPenSoul. Amora credits DJ Surreal, aka George Yasutake, a recreation leader there, with helping him find his voice as a rapper. “I was just trying to find a style up until HerbsPenSoul,” Amora says. “[DJ Surreal] gave me the comfort and power in myself. He helped me open myself to the level of MC that I was.”
It’s plain to hear Amora finding himself on HerbsPenSoul, released in January 2014. Standout track “Who I Be” is essentially an artist statement, a self-introduction. Rapping with a cautious but determined optimism, Amora admits his influences outright, name-dropping both CL Smooth and boom-bap, the production style that defines his work. Herbs is a point of pride for Amora—he still considers it his best work.
Herbs was followed by Aura EP last November. As its title might suggest, Aura embraced the spiritual and the psychedelic, playing with more introspective and spaced-out ideas. On “manym00ns,” Amora deftly handles tongue-twisting wordplay: “straight cut, no Neosporin, injecting neo soul spores straight into the core, rearranged decorum, while we’re speaking in forum, I am in rare form.”
Lesser MCs might have trouble being so verbose, but Amora handles it with ease. After all, hip-hop is basically programmed into Amora’s genetic code: His mother and grandfather were both poets, and his father, sometimes known as Crowd Rocka or Funky Toez, was part of the Minnesota hip-hop collective-turned-record label Rhymesayers.
“I grew up in the cypher with Slug [of Atmosphere] and Brother Ali,” Amora says. “I grew up seeing those cats as a young cat. My pops used to have shows and I would be onstage, rocking with them.”
Despite his early exposure to hip-hop, Amora didn’t take rap seriously until he was 17 (“My parents always pushed college tough”). Surprisingly, it was his long interest in Japanese culture that inspired him to give a career in hip-hop a chance: Amora discovered the Japanese hip-hop producer Nujabes through the soundtrack to the anime series Samurai Champloo, and its impact was immediate. “It’s impossible to avidly listen to an artist like Nujabes and not have his music affect your consciousness and soul,” Amora says.
Dex still draws inspiration from unlikely places: Seattle public transit, for example, has become part of his creative process. “I don’t like writing in the booth. I like writing on the Metro, actually. It’s kind of habit now. When I first got out here, that’s what I was doing, so it kind of stuck with me. I’m more comfortable on the back of the Link with my headphones on, writing something.”
In 2013, Amora started working at a restaurant downtown, where he first met creative partner J’Von. Noticing they both sported throwback hightop fades, they hit it off immediately. The two work closely; J’Von partially produced, mixed, and mastered Aura and serves as Amora’s main DJ at shows.
Amora and J’Von are part of a larger group of artists, sometimes called Dex Dynamite Saga, that includes frequent collaborators Zuke Saga, E. Grady, and others. “Dex is the golden egg. And I don’t just say that because I DJ’d a set for him and there were free burritos in the green room,” J’Von says. “But he’s the only one out of the crew who could make music for a sunny day. He’s the only who could rock a set outside and have people moving.”
Though the rest of the group sees Amora as the frontman, he seems reluctant to take center stage. He’d prefer to share the spotlight and use his success to get the other members their due. “It works because, with us being in this group together, everybody, once they hear me, they see J’Von too, or they’ve heard of Zuke, and they’re like ‘Yo, let me check those cats out.’ And they’re like the backbone of the group,” Amora says. “And then [people] start to see those cats are really talented. Everybody in this group really spits. We’re all akin to each other.”
Amora plans to go back to school in the winter, to study Japanese at Seattle Central. He wants to keep experimenting, working outside the boom-bap that has come to define his sound. His next project, Ai Level, is due in September. The EP’s title ties back to his taste for Japanese culture. “It’s simple,” he says.”Amora is love; love equals ‘ai’ in Japanese.” It’ll be his first record in almost a year, but he isn’t rushing anything.
When I ask Amora’s camp about their aspirations, J’Von’s goals are lofty; he says he wants to be legendary. Amora, on the other hand, keeps a more level head, saying he can’t expect that for himself. But if it comes, he says, he’ll be grateful.

Dex Amora Capitol Hill Block Party, between Broadway and 12th Ave., Barboza Stage. Single-day pass $50. 21 and over. 3:45 p.m. Sat., July 25. - Seattle Weekly

"Dex Amora's 'Ai Level' Is a Hip-Hop Heart Emoji"

Dex Amora is exceptionally careful with his words. While much of modern rap forgoes lyricism in favor of pure emotive flow, Amora stays true to his golden-era hip-hop sensibilities. The young Seattle MC constructs his raps out of complex rhyme schemes, double entendres, and clever turns of phrase, backed by a drummer’s ear for timing that makes him feel completely in synch with the beat. He’s built his career on these characteristics, and his newest project, Ai Level, follows that trend.
Ai Level, self-released now digitally and on cassette, is actually a collaborative album, with every single beat by Goldenbeets. He and Amora have worked extensively in the past, most notably on “manym00ns,” and the two have great chemistry. Their knack for refreshing and reinterpreting hip-hop’s past makes their pairing feel immediately natural. To Goldenbeets’ credit as a skilled producer, each of the seven tracks on the EP feel and sound different, but maintain a cohesion without ever getting repetitive or samey.
Ai Level’s greatest departure from Amora’s previous project is its lyrical content. AURA EP, released just over a year ago, found him largely concerned with spirituality and third-eye mysticism, but Ai Level is much more down-to-earth. Its title, just like AURA ’s, hints at its content; ai is the Japanese word for love, as he explained to Seattle Weekly in July. It bears repeating, since love is woven into the stories Ai Level tells; familial love, friendships, growing love from fans. There’s even a loose romantic narrative threaded through the project.
The romance kicks off in “heart.Beat,” where Amora can’t get his affection out of his mind: “These sisters can’t relate/The feelings that she activate/But I’ve been neurally locked in and feeling like I can’t escape.” This carries over to “What Do Ai Say,” where the unnamed woman is “doing laps in [his] head.” The sultry vocals of Port Orchard pop singer Scarlet Parke on the hook really elevate the track. She’s one of only two guests on the project, and her presence makes “What Do Ai Say” a major highlight.
It’s mostly Amora’s voice that you’ll be hearing on Ai Level, though. There’s a thoughtful, introspective quality to his rapping, as though he’s exposing his mind’s inner workings to his audience. He’ll move across subjects at the speed of thought, which means his raps can get sidetracked often. He sometimes sacrifices a logical train of thought for a chance to flex his admittedly impressive rap skills and sizable vocabulary.
Still, it’s fascinating to hear how fast Amora’s mouth can work: “I keep that in your brain, compartmentalized, with lies in the middles/Line to get ’em into the process with the minerals at obvious intervals/Your body’s live as fried tentacles,” he tongue-twistingly raps in just eight seconds on “idntfrnt,” defying all logic about the physiology of human speech patterns.
Ai Level reaches its emotional peak with “LOVE ME WHILE I’M STILL ALIVE,” which, given its title and all-caps urgency, sounds as if it should be a sad plea for help. Instead, Amora’s musing on the ephemerality of existence, among other reflections (another knowledge bomb: Amora ponders “If you don’t love yourself, how can you love anyone else?”).
The romantic subplot resurfaces in the EP’s last track, “The Frequen-see.” With its warm horns, piano, and chopped-up, moaning vocal stabs, the track pays subtle homage to ’90s R&B balladeers like Keith Sweat and Jodeci. Goldenbeets manages to capture their leather-jacket-with-no-shirt vibe while leaving the cheese behind (or at least most of it). Amora’s lyricism is more tied to ’90s R&B-loverboy sensibilities; he plays the hopeless romantic, making passionate proclamations of love and painting moments of sweaty intimacy. Like the work that inspired it, “The Frequen-see” ends up feeling more corny than truly heartfelt.
It highlights a problem with Amora’s lyricism on the whole. He clearly wants to get you into his mind frame, but thanks to his painstaking choice of words, it ends up feeling a bit more like a guided tour than a full exploration. That’s not to discount the openness and honesty he does show, but it’s hard not to feel as though there’s a lot more lurking beneath the surface. - Seattle Weekly

"Attractive Singles: January 2016"

Dex Amora, “idntfront”

Dex Amora’s lyricism is dense and deep and dude knows it; no need to front. So instead the young MC humblebrags his way through this low-key banger from his new Ai Level EP, pushing and pulling against a loose, dusty-grooved beat courtesy longtime production collaborator goldenbeets. - City Arts Magazine


January 2013
Emergence EP

January 2014

November 2014


November 2015

Ai Level



Dex Amora is a 23 yr old Minneapolis native, based in Seattle, WA, and has been pursuing his career in Seattle since 2012, when he was 17 y/o.

Passionate is the best word to describe this young artist. He's released 4 EP's independently, played most of Seattle's festivals, and has received praise from all of Seattle's major publications, along with organically garner hundred of thousands of plays/views, and a sturdy support-base online.

Twitter : @dexamora
Instagram: mikailamora


Band Members