Group fuses Haitian culture with rap

They call themselves The All Mighty Zoes, a family of Haitian-bred rappers who emerged from Miami. Their latest album, “Can’t Sleep On It,” is the raw lyrical content of Cokane, TCK, Greedy Black and Gucciano, the four individuals who make up AMZ. The 19-track album throbs with aggressive club beats and hardcore street lyrics.

On the album, AMZ takes listeners into a survival-of-the-fittest lifestyle of sex, drugs, money and women. Their uninhibited sounds blend with heavy trunk-rattling, head-bobbing bass lines, gangsta raps and fierce freestyles.

AMZ even remixes a few of their lyrics on popular beats from Cash Money Millionaire songs. Tracks such as “The Banger” and “Big Chevy” get the production assistance of Red Spyda, who has worked with 50 Cent and G-Unit.

Young, determined and united, the group has made their way into the Tallahassee market. AMZ’s “Buy Me a Drink” is already in rotation on local radio stations. They recently performed at the Trillville concert in Bainbridge, Ga.

“We want to change the way people look at Haitians and rappers from down South,” said Tony Lilavois, otherwise known as Cokane. “We want people to wake up and realize they can’t sleep on AMZ.”

In Miami, Haitians are casually referred to as “zoes,” but Guccianno said he took the word and created a concept that represents AMZ.

“There are a lot of Haitians like us, but we take things to another level. To us, the letters mean zealous, original and everything spiritual,” he said.

Lilavois, a junior public administration student at FAMU, said the album reflects real life situations he and the rest of the members experienced.

“It’s about the tribulations of life in Miami and our family in Haiti,” he said.

Lilavois said he remembers the beginning stages of the group.

“We began rapping as a way to express our frustrations and to rise above negativity. We were poor, we’re Haitian. In America, we are treated as outcasts.”

Lilavois said their family ties hold them together.

“We stick together through hard times, steady focusing on our music,” he said.

Lilavois said he is the only member who lives in Tallahassee – the others remain in Miami – because he chose to go to school while working with AMZ.

Yet, by consistently distributing the album on the Set every Friday and making sure AMZ gets airplay, Lilavois said he is completely dedicated to the group.

“Can’t Sleep On It” is AMZ’s sophomore effort. Their first self-titled album came out in January 2003.

“Our music has always been on point,” Lilavois said. “The only difference between now and then is our packaging is better.”

Gucciano said things are only going to get better for AMZ.

“Our music is at the point of no return. We put people down on the game going on in the streets,” he said. “Look out for ‘Can’t Sleep On It:Volume 2.”

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