I was first introduced to AMP Movement by chance when I came across a music video on Youtube of a song from their full length album Glory Songs. Their lyrical ability was refreshingly on point, and the track was on point. This led me to buy their album almost right away, and I was completely satisfied with the product. Made up of CL, J.Han, and Sam Ock, AMP (short for Amplify) came together after the success of two collaborative songs in 2009. This lead to a uniting of these brothers under their heart’s similarities in their musical callings.
With two LP’s, a handful of single artist EP’s, and a slew of singles, AMP releases their new project The Transition EP, to give a musical representation of what every Christian goes through in their life as they go from one season to another. Inspired by their own lives, being in very transitional periods, they pen these songs to give the listener advice on how to surf the tides of life. But does AMP succeed in this endeavor? Let’s take a look.
There is nothing better to me than a vertical project, and by vertical, I define it as: A song that deals with a life situation in a way that is primarily aimed in the direction of the Lord, as opposed to being towards the situation itself. Every. Single. Song. is vertical. AMP has effectively created a brand of “WorsHip-Hop” that brings joy to my soul. I found myself in spontaneous worship many times during the day, singing the choruses to “In Your Hands”, “Loud”, and “Ruler” as I went along doing my daily tasks. It’s rare for me to be overcome by the joy of the Lord while listening to a rap album.
And while AMP is very gifted in creating choruses, the verses are packed with lyrically intricate wordplay that is both exciting to a lover of well crafted lyrics, but understandable on a basic listener level. One verse that I loved was on “In Your Hands,” when CL spoke about how he often thinks about how he should equally balance his lifestyle as a husband, father, and ministry leader. Any man who actively seeks the Lord knows how real this subject is.
The other thing about vertical songs is that they focus on giving an accurate representation of how Christ breaks through all world systems. “Loud” paints a picture of our world system (graduate college, join the workforce, be ruled by your paycheck, etc.) and how this creates a type of internal idolatry of defining ourselves in what we’re striving to attain. Since this ideology is what’s portrayed as success in our world, the song unpacks how Christ breaks us all from the chains of society, and that those who are free are to be the bullhorns to those who are still bound.
“Trust” and “Ruler” do a really awesome job of representing the daily life struggle of the spirit vs. the flesh. The struggle of feeling like you are living in a seemingly hopeless situation, against the words of Jesus telling us to trust in Him through all things, and He will make our paths straight. The EP ends with “Evermore.” A beautiful, two part song of worship, where anyone can close their eyes and imagine being at the altar of any church with arms lifted up, worshiping the King with reckless abandon.
You cannot place these guys in a genre based on the music alone, and I love that about them. They’re in the rap category because, well, they’re rapping, but that’s about it. One song can have a boom-bap beat mixed with an orchestra, then the next one could have random percussion sounds with 808’s and a piano, then an eight bit synthesizer solo with electric guitar. They’re so gifted at merging all genres together in a way that’s more organic than anything at Whole Foods.
They’re unafraid with changing tempo and beat patterns mid-song, or even to change the entire song composition after the second verse! In “Ruler,” it starts with a regal orchestra and a beat, then after the first verse it just rocks out! And all of these changes happen without messing with the flow of the songs. You don’t see it coming, and you don’t mind at all that it happened.
The Transition EP is a project that is for everyone. If you are a recent college graduate facing the reality of our current world economy, if you’re a newly married person, if you’re a new parent, if you’ve lost a loved one, or if some other unforeseen circumstance is now your reality. The way AMP created this project, made it a picker-upper for your spirit.
The songs are nice to listen to musically and the lyrics give God the honor He deserves as the ruler over every situation, both new and old, that you are currently facing. If your soul ever feels downcast (Psalm 42:5), believe me when I say that The Transition EP can pick it back up in a real way. I say this not just as a reviewer, but because it’s my testimony. I recommend adding this to your iTunes Library as soon as you can.