If you’ve ever been to a show at Palisades, chances are you know Amani Fela. The 19-year-old rapper can oft be found working the door at the immensely popular Brooklyn venue, putting together a bevy of fantastically diverse bills, and of course, spitting his ass off on stage. His verses, a heady mixture of psychadelic and exploratory verbiage and socially keen commentary, have made waves in the underground, and his newest track, “antebody” is one more reason to pay attention. Fela has merged forces with his backing band, the funky prog-pop-meets-shoegaze trio Sun Looks Down (guitarist Jacob Sunshine, drummer Phil McNeil, and keyboardist Spencer Horstman) to form a new outfit, called zetetics.
A bunch of Ivy League jazz-heads, these guys can play with the best of them and it’s refreshing to hear the fucked up shit they deliver in this forward-thinking hip-hop context. Sunshine’s swirlingly echoic guitar hooks and Horstman’s gurgling synth swells make way for the nasty groove which is the solid ground this song calls home. McNeil’s drum patterns are complex yet remarkably fun, reveling heavily in the mold of post-Dilla off-placed beatwork. The shallow twang of Sunshine’s dryly funky rhythm guitar parts provides a danky throwback to early Chili Peppers badassery. All of the instrumentation together provides a mesmerizing bed for Amani Fela to wreck upon, with impressively articulated lyrics about the pains of living while black, the false safety to be found in faith, and the messiness of coming to terms with a tumultuous world. Not to take a line out of context, but the repeated refrain of the song goes, “where being black is a daring deed”… and, well, zetetics are making music that is daring, indeed.
AMANI FELA – https://www.facebook.com/amanifela?fref=ts
SUN LOOKS DOWN – https://www.facebook.com/sunlooksdown?fref=ts