Akron, Ohio-based rap artist, Ampichino, sat down with us several months ago for an interview at 7th Heaven on Troost in KCMO on the day after his show at the Riot Room in Westport. At one point, the crowd at Riot Room was chanting the lyrics during his performance. Ampichino has built a very solid fanbase in the Midwest and on the West Coast, specifically, and we can’t help but reason that with the force of his vast catalogue of albums and mixtapes since 2001. The third volume of his Devil’z Rejectz collaborative album with the late Bay Area rap artist, The Jacka, is on its way soon (we hear, at least). If you could picture a more underground hybrid of E-40 and Biggie, Ampichino is what you should be listening to. Better late than never, but here is our interview with Ampichino.


What are your ties to The Regime?
Ampichino: I’m a part of The Regime. It’s a movement that my big brother Yukmouth started. I’ve been in The Regime since 2000.

It’s not really a record label, but it’s more of a brotherhood or crew, right?
Ampichino: It’s a crew of dope MCs, from everywhere and not one area. It’s West Coast, East Coast, Down South, Midwest. His whole vision was to get the dopest rappers from everywhere, and start a crew that’s just unstoppable. That’s really what The Regime is.

How would you explain your fanbase in KC? It seems to be very strong. Does that come from The Regime connection with members in KC, or no?
Ampichino: It just comes from good music. I’ve been coming out to KC a lot since ’08, ’09. They like good music out here. KC is up on game out here.

How deep does The Regime crew run? Are there members all over the world?
Ampichino: There’s people all over the U.S., I know that. Probably about 20 deep. I couldn’t even name everybody in it. There’s a lot of us though.

What is the Midwest in your eyes?
Ampichino: The Midwest is a boiling pot of nothing but pure talent, of unheard of MCs, singers, graffiti artists, DJs. Just the whole hip hop everything, gumbo in a mix. That’s just why whenever somebody usually comes from the Midwest, they do it real big like Eminem, Nelly. Everytime you get an artist, it’s going to be different and new. The Midwest is dope.

The-Jacka-Ampichino-Devilz-Rejectz-2-House-Of-The-Dead1 Let’s say I’m visiting a friend in Akron, or I’m moving there. What places should I hit up? Whether it’s a park, a record store, anything.
Ampichino: You definitely got to hit 2 Line Music up. That’s a record store, they’ve been an independent moms and pops and they’ve been rolling for about 25 years. They got a lot of dope restaurants. They got some dope clubs. The whole scene. LeBron James is from there, I’m from there. It’s dope in Akron.

What projects do you have coming up soon? I don’t know you well. I’ve only been listening to your music for like, no joke, maybe 4 days. But…
Ampichino: What you think of it?

Alright, here’s what I think of it. I think it sounds like a harder version of an E-40 and Biggie mix.
Ampichino: That’s dope. I’ve never heard that before, but I can understand it. I could see it. I’m always with quality over quantity, anyway. So, I don’t just pump a whole lot of projects out. I can do it, because I’ve got probably about 10 albums done. But I’d rather make some stuff that I know is going to stick. Me and Yukmouth got one damn-near done, which is called “Block Monsters: Godzilla and King Kong”. He’s Godzilla and I’m King Kong. That’s going to be dope. That’s going to be just pure dope lyrical assassination. We ain’t taking no shorts, we ain’t cutting no corners. We going straight for the throat with that. Then me and Killa Tay got one we’re working on. We’re ping-ponging songs back and forth. We haven’t even come up with the name of our group yet. All the dope people that I grew up listening to that I’m rocking with, they rock with me the same way. I’m just trying to give people some good, quality dope music that’s up to date. I love that old sound, but I know that sound ain’t for today. So, I’m mixing the old with the new, that’s still me, without converting to anything.

Who is your favorite MC throughout the history of rap?
Ampichino: You’re going to give me one? My favorite of all time? Me, see I’m old school, so I going to have to go with Kool G Rap.

I read in another interview, that the early Eric B. and Rakim music was some of the first that grabbed you.
Ampichino: Rakim changed the game. That’s when I knew that you could take it to other plateaus. But the thing about him was that he never really made dope albums for me. Top dogs? You got Scarface. You got Cube. You got E-40…

kool g rap cold chillin I want to know more about why you like Kool G Rap so much.
Ampichino: Everything that people are rapping about right now, he started it. He started the Mob talk, he started the money talk, he started all that. Everything that we’re even talking about, he started it. Back then they were rapping about the DJ, and how dope they were as an MC. That’s the essence of it. That’s how Nas became Nas, was because of Kool G. Big Pun became Big Pun because of Kool G. Dope MCs, they blueprinted themselves after Kool G Rap. Nas is a top dog too, though. See, they just can’t pick beats though.

Who’s your favorite rapper in Akron, aside from yourself?
Ampichino: Young Bossi. Can’t nobody mess with him, period.

Who’s your favorite unsigned rapper in Kansas City?
Ampichino: My favorite rapper out of KC is Rich The Factor. You can’t top that. The only way you can top it is Tech. But Tech can rap so good, but I’m more into the street life, so I’m going to gravitate towards Rich. But can’t nobody beat Tech rapping out here, period. Nowhere, really. I gotta go with Rich.

How long have you been in the rap game?
Ampichino: How long have I been rapping, professionally? Since 2001.

What are some specific pros and cons you’ve experienced in your time in the rap game when it comes to independent labels and major labels?
Ampichino: Being independent, you can do what you want. You can make your own career. You don’t have to answer to nobody. With the majors, their pro is that you don’t have to worry about the money. I mean, now you do because they’re not putting a whole bunch of money into it. But the whole thing about a major was that you just rap and they do everything else. Independent, you’ve got to do damn-near everything. But the payoff is way better. If anybody has got a following right now, you would be stupid to sign to a major. All you’re doing is giving them some money. I would’ve never signed to a major if I was Wiz. Curren$y, none of them. Ain’t no way you gotta sign to a major. Look at Mac Miller…

What do you think about artists who made a name independently, then signed to a major, and then went back to being independent?
Ampichino: It just depends on what you got going, and what made you come back. If you’re forced back, then that’s one thing but if you use your major to get independence…that’s another thing. What I mean by that, if you just went up to the majors, got the name, got the spotlight, got the bigger following, and just came back down because you know the independent game, then that’s big. But if you blow up and you fell off, and now you’re just trying to come back because that’s all you can do anyway, that ain’t about nothing.

What’s the difference between glorifying street life and being a street life analyst through your music?
Ampichino: You can hear it in the music. Glorifying it is, “We’re rich” in every song. We have money, bitches. Telling it, what me and The Jacka do and people built from that cloth, we’re going to tell you the good of it, the bad of it. What’s going to happen. What always happens, which you’re going to end up killing somebody, getting killed or going to jail. Those are the parts that we’re going to tell you about that other people ain’t. They’re not going to tell you that a whole family just got killed behind this, or your cousin is doing life. They’re not going to give you that part of the game. I think that’s the difference.

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Chris Mills
Chris Mills
Editor-in-Chief at Demencha Magazine LLC and Send music and event submissions to LOCALS BEFORE LEGENDS.

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