The bass is loud enough to shake the floorboards, but as strong as its quaking is, it’s but a drop in the bucket in comparison to the unadulterated strength DJ Amaze is about to unleash just moments from now. In the first few seconds of his new single with AG, “456,” rhythm is established forcefully and with a hint of grandiosity, and although it might be a bit overwhelming to those who aren’t as familiar with the chest-beating intensity of contemporary reggae, the rest of us will immediately tune into the unspoken intimacy this physicality creates in the room.
The video for “456” cuts away the tension of the bassline in favor of embracing the strut of the groove and all of the swagger it can inspire among those who are listening. Temptresses are quite literally, in AG’s own words, dropping like pros, while the guys are celebrating the excesses of the melodic chaos like music is soon to be out of style for good. It’s infectious and purposefully indulgent in all the right ways, which is a far cry from the stripped-down aesthetic so many of their contemporaries have been experimenting with in the past five or six years.
AG’s vocal slides between the ridges of this beat beautifully, and there’s never any real point where they’re made to compete for our attention – the integrity of the groove, and the harmony for that matter, is simply too sterling for that to be the case. One point of excellence DJ Amaze can always be counted upon for is upholding the virtues of efficiency, and from a songwriter’s perspective this is definitely one of the best examples of his prowess in this department being allowed to blossom and control the narrative of an entire composition (and its performers).
You can’t beat the kind of chemistry that DJ Amaze and AG have cooking in “456,” but as a critic it would be incredible to see their peers try and do just that. This is a supremely competent jam that pushes the boundaries between melodic hip-hop, dancehall and progressive reggae so far to the left that they eventually fade and become difficult to distinguish, and for listeners who prefer a musicianship that is more focused on the potency of the material than the labels of the content, it doesn’t get much better than a performance like this one. All in all, DJ Amaze and AG hit this one out of the park.