Premiere: Eligh, Amp Live and Busdriver on ‘L.A. Dreamers’


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A substantial portion of the rappers who came to fame in the independent rap world’s late-’90s boom still maintain healthy, even thriving careers. Whereas many of their major-label peers fell into a precipice when big deals stopped circulating, the smartest underground rappers built a viable infrastructure and fan base that allowed them to stay afloat and continue pursuing their passion.

Things might never go back to the halcyon period when acclaimed indie artists could expect to sell 10,000 copies of vinyl, but those who hustle hard and stay consistent can still book shows all over the world. Eligh and Amp Live are indicative of this type of indie rap artist. The former was a mainstay in the Living Legends crew, while the latter was the DJ/producer half of Bay Area-based Zion I.


In promotion of Eligh and Amp Live’s collaborative record, last month’s ‘Therapy at 3,’ the pair have set off on the nationwide ‘How the Grouch Stole Christmas’ tour alongside fellow underground vets Evidence and DJ Fresh (Amp Live will be performing a Zion I set). The tour arrives at the El Rey theater on Sunday night, and in advance of the performance Eligh and Amp Live are premiering ‘L.A. Dreamers.’ Featuring fellow indie rap linchpin Busdriver in full-on Myka 9 mode, the track riffs on the topic of people moving to L.A. and having their dreams shattered. Busdriver tells tales of failed actors working at Beverly Hills boutiques and serving as Danny DeVito’s assistant. He mocks Tyler Perry and tacitly invokes ‘The Hollywood Shuffle.’ Amp Live provides a hypnotic bed of Tuareg guitar-sounding licks, and Eligh calls himself a manatee and covers ground from Echo Park to the Palisades.

It’s well made, thoughtful, and warrants repeat listening. They’ve paid their dues and understand the difference between dreams and reality.


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Download (heads-up: explicit lyrics):
Eligh & Amp Live LA Dreamers ft. Busdriver

-- Jeff Weiss