“It’s like a marriage with his lyrics and my beats; it is very impressive,” says Pete Rock of AMXXR. The Hip-Hop legend compares first impressions to his incredible 1990s union with C.L. Smooth. For years, Mount Vernon, New York MC AMXXR has been rhyming to tailor-made beats from the Chocolate Boy Wonder. However, the first artist signed to Pete’s Tru Soul Records developed his best material in 2021, beginning with 21 Grams: Worth Its Weight In Soul mixtape and follow-up album Dope Boy Soul—both produced entirely by Pete Rock. “I feel like Pete has something to prove. It’s so scary that it’s goose-bumping,” the MC says of his mentor and longtime friend. Within those grooves, AMXXR offers a keen perspective that’s rather unique.
“My story is not linear; there’s a lot of layers to me,” admits AMXXR—pronounced like his given name, Ameer. The product of a Jamaican family joined the US Army early. “I was 16 when I enlisted. I did two years of that and then 11 months of combat,” says the former Special Ops Command member. After his tour, he used the GI bill to enroll at nearby Fordham University, where he earned a Bachelor in Computer Science and a Masters in Cyber Security. Amid his academic success, AMXXR admits that he also played in the streets. All the while, he was also moonlighting as a barber. It led to meeting C.L. Smooth, who eventually brought AMXXR to Pete.
In his verses, AMXXR approaches modern life with an old soul. He carries that essence in life too. Although AMXXR made friends with Hip-Hop legends, he waited years to ask for their hand. “These relationships cultivated over a 10-year-period,” he explains. On his own, AMXXR blazed a trail with his smooth voice and wisdom-packed raps. He broke through on The Big Picture mixtape, hosted by Don Cannon and eventually signed with Tommy Boy and released one single.
As AMXXR built a name for himself and sharpened his skills, he attracted Pete’s ear. “This was a new guy who is talking about reality, without being too preachy,” P.R. says while praising the MC’s cadence, flow, and subject matter. “He’s right in the middle of everything.” The pair debuted their chemistry on 2016’s “Superstar.” The single appeared on Peace Beloved, a project that Pete presented as a gesture of support. As he kept sending AMXXR beats, the MC did not understand the process of the heralded producer for Nas, JAY-Z, Kanye West, and others. “With Pete, you rhyme to the skeletons, and then he goes back and builds the song around your vocals.” Soul Brother #1 had a plan. In 2020, P.R. invited AMXXR to his Tru Soul Records label and gave him hand-selected beats for Dope Boy Soul. “Each artist that I work with I want to sound different from the next,” the legendary producer explains.
Before AMXXR’s proper-debut, Dope Boy Soul, is released in August, fans can now download and stream the just released 21 Grams: Worth Its Weight In Soul—a mixtape combining sharp lyricism with engaging beats. Like the upcoming LP it promotes, the tape’s title is significant. A 1907 study compared measurements of the living and the dead to determine that the soul weighs 21 Grams, the perfect illustration for a king of soul and a street-savvy MC.