First, RainyDayz which is Amp Lives’s unique and quasi-legitimate take on last years In Rainbows by Radiohead. Although Raidohead didn’t authorise the remixes and subsequently served Amp with a cease and desist order, thankfully an agreement was made, because this shit is hot! Besides enhancing the low-end and outfitting the songs with the obligatory boom-bap of hip hop, Amp went to the trouble of recording the crème-de-la-crème of California vocal talent to add depth to creations. Too $hort, Del, Chali 2 Na and MC Zumbi all drop verses on this project. Even though most of Thom York's vocals have been removed, skeletal snippets remain and have been chopped tastefully in a manner that jives well with the rappers featured. The exception is his remix of 15 Step in which he’s hired vocalist Codany Holiday to pretty much re-record York’s part (this sounds much better in actuality than it does in my explanation—trust) Even the tracks that don’t feature vocalists still bear Amp’s sonic signature; All I Need has been transformed from a somber string laden affair into a dubby synth work out with complete cracking snares and distended bass. Weird Fish has been made into a an upbeat floor filler with plenty of hip hop bounce.
Go Dummy on the other hand plays much more like a mix tape with seamless transitions between tracks and a Capella’s disembodied by the grooves they’ve been couched in. The idea is basically a mash up of Portishead’s classic Dummy and the some of the bay area’s hyphy elite, hence the title (“go dumb” being a popular refrain in the bay lexicon). The concept is clever and very well executed. Scotty take’s the vox (E-40, San Quin, Too $hort, Keak da Sneak and Tu Pac among others) and lays them over the original Portishead tracks, beefing up the beats with 808’s, hand claps and scratches via reason and pro tools. He deftly blends the content of the MC’s lyrics with those of Beth Gibbons. The result is a cohesive yet disorienting ride with Gibbon’s mournful croon on the one hand and street braggadocio of some of Oakland’s finest on the other.