Pete Rock x Amxxr - 21 Grams
Updated: Sep 28, 2021
The Debut project from Tru Soul's solo artist is also one of the most refreshing of the year
Pete Rock x Amxxr - 21 Grams: Worth It's Weight In Soul
Full disclosure, I wrestled about whether to write a review for 21 Grams: Worth It's Weight In Soul. After all, Freedstyles.com is a site that I created to promote and uplift independent artists. With one of Hip Hop's greatest producers, Pete Rock behind the boards, and his name and logo prominent on the album cover, did it fit my criteria?
Even with everything that Pete Rock contributes to 21 Grams, this review, and project is more about Amxxr, the dynamic emcee who's vocals are heard over the course of 19 tracks. This is Amxxr's coming out party, and the lead up to his upcoming proper debut album Dope Boy Soul.
21 Grams is a feel good project, and much of that can be attributed to the sonic landscape that Pete Rock creates, through his choice of samples and Mixtape format. All of it gives off "Summer Cook Out" vibes. For his part, Ammxr keeps the listener engaged with his slick wordplay and diverse subject matter. He shows many sides of himself as both a man and an emcee, using each new instrumental as an opportunity to tell a story, educate, uplift or unveil.
On 25th Hour Man Amxxr sets the stage. The Mount Vernon emcee introduces himself & his city while preparing the listener for what to expect lyrically through the rest of the project. The Pete Rock beat is straight boom bap, fully equipped with hard drums, strings and scratches.
Now that I got your attention, for my last bar. No it’s not an introduction, more like a crash course.
Peace Beloved, Dope Boy Soul, one in the same. You know what a rock do when you throw it in a flame. You know what a block do when you fill it with some cane, same thing that a book do when you put it to your brain.
As the 21 Grams project moves along the samples Pete Rock uses gets more musically diverse as Pete also switches up the tempo. On James B Pete Rock gives Amxxr a funky James Brown sample to get busy to, while the emcee proclaims:
Rookie of the year but got stripes like a Veteran.
While Amxxr is dope with the wordplay and metaphors, it’s his direct ‘matter of fact-ness’ that often stands out the most in his rhymes.
On Bullrap Amxxr breaks down the very relatable financial struggles that many of us are going though, and how it keeps many of us in a viscous cycle.
This economy been robbing me since I’ve been paying taxes, looking at my check like damn I’m only getting paid a fraction.
Throughout 21 Grams Amxxr gives the listener a lot to unpack. On songs like No Justice No Peace & MomoRail, Amxxr goes deeper into his political bag, exposing the politricks that are ever present.
I wrote this for everybody caught in the mix, indoctrinated they taught you that poverty shit.
Amxxr further shows his versatility on 21 Grams by getting personal on several tracks. On Never Can Amxxr dedicates bars to lost family and loved ones as well as his past habits and activities, which he’s left behind him. Moon Child is a dedication to Amxxr’s lady and an ode to women, love and relationships in general.
With all of the deep subject matter Amxxr and Pete Rock still have their share of fun on this record. A great example of that is 2 AM on Lafayette, where they flip Tribe’s call and response from Check The Rhyme.
You in your bag A? All the time Pete! It’s Dope Boy Soul time to let the world see!
On The Hunch Amxxr lets loose some more and embraces a more celebratory vibe.
You can do the Shiggy, I’ma do the Milly. Throw a bag in the air for real let’s get silly. Celebrate life, play with the hype. Anything can happen my city’s got bright lights.
With so much heat on 21 Grams it’s impossible for me to cover it all here. Amxxr drops quotable bars throughout the project's 19 tracks, many on his single It’s Okay alone.
When you the answer to the question you ain't gotta practice. I made money outside and put it in the mattress.
As the emcee spits on Free Dem:
Bars all quotable, dress code notable. Introverted for real, but I’m cool with being sociable.
Pete Rock’s production on 21 Grams is the perfect backdrop for Amxxr. The soulful & funky samples throughout the project set the vibe and Amxxr shines on everything Pete throws at him. While I can’t cover everything here I want to reiterate that Amxxr is the star of the show.
His ability to give you his raw perspective with such style and grace is a major talent.
Check out 21 Grams: Worth Its Weight In Soul on Audiomack with limited physical copies also available for purchase on trusoulnyc.com