Hip Hop Meets Bebop: The Lique Give Jazz a Lickng and Keep on Ticking
The Lique have been tearing up the Vegas strip for the past two years, and the only problem they have—besides unruly fans—is getting people to pronounce their name correctly. Originally from Sacramento, emcee Rasar Amani headed for the bright lights of Las Vegas and found unlikely allies in four jazz students from UNLV. They have been working their asses off for the past couple years building a following in Vegas and on Sat., May 12; The Lique will be returning to the Talent Club.
“The lead single is called ‘The Lick,’”says Amani. “The band is pronounced ‘the leek.’ That’s the most commonly asked question, ‘how do you pronounce it?’
The Lique sprung from guitarist Sean Carbone’s desire to mix jazz and hip-hop. At first, his pitch took Amani by surprise, but eventually realized this was the ideal situation for him to showcase his lyrics.
“He said, ‘I want to start an original, jazz-based, hip-hop band,” says Amani. “I’m looking at him likes he’s crazy. [But] I’m old school, that’s the cardinal rule; say what you think.”
The Lique’s first album Democracy Manifest was a combination of Rasar’s solo material and newer rhymes, combined with musical ideas the band had already been working on. Their latest album Times Like These, dropping Fri., May 4, is all material The Lique worked on together.
“This album is interesting because it’s not all about partying,” says Amani. “It’s real deep with the lyrics; you gotta go back and listen. It’s a good road trip album; the stuff on it is intended to be dissected. Our core fans are the ones that really get into the depths of it.”
And Amani says a lot of those core fans aren’t who you’d think..
“We are usually the band for people who are like, ‘I don’t like hip-hop, but I like you guys,’” he says. “Because we play jazz and we have suits, we’re not hip-hop.”
Rasar has been immersed in hip-hop culture for most of his life, but jazz music has given him the opportunity to ‘grip it on that other level.’
“Definitely jazz is something we fall back on,” says Amani. “They all went into the jazz program at UNLV. I’m the oldest; I’ve been listening to hip-hop since they were little babies. But they are open to new stuff. It’s interesting to have that interaction; we teach each other. This was the first band that allowed me to use a lot of that. [And] this is the first time they’ve been able to play their own stuff.”
Now that The Lique have conquered Vegas, it’s time to make the rest of the country their ‘home away from home.’
“You know at this point it’s just been unfolding,” says Amani. “We’re getting acclimated to this new lifestyle on the road. The most we did before was like ten days, now that’s a short run. We want to do what we did in Vegas and Sacramento. We want to make everywhere our home; just plant some seeds.”
The Lique have finally recorded the album that they have all been wanting to create since the get go. But playing in front of a crowd is the foundation of what they do.
“We’re a live, performing band above all,” he says. “The most important thing is to keep the live show poppin’.”
9 pm Sat., May 12
The Talent Club, 114 Talent Ave., Talent
$15, 21 and over