Unified Highway | Reggae Rise Up Artist
Unified Highway

Unified Highway

Unified Highway is appearing at...

When Rebelution vocalist/guitarist Eric Rachmany and renowned producer, DJ, and remixer Amp Live (formerly of Zion I) first teamed up to collaborate on some music together in 2014, they were just experimenting and exploring an outlet for creativity with kindred musical spirits. They could not have predicted that the pairing would lead to a full first album, and that six years later they’d be releasing an anticipated follow-up as Unified Highway.

“Seriously, we just wanted to have some fun,” says Eric. “Bring together our different skills, and points of view. The rest that’s come from it has been a blessing.”

Unified Highway’s second album, Headlines (Easy Star Records, April 24), continues the musical journey, merging reggae, electronic, hip-hop, alternative, and soul into unforgettable songs. Beyond the electric chemistry of Eric and Amp, this release also features guest spots with hip hop mastermind Del The Funky Homosapien, reggae artist Million Stylez, singer/rapper Reverie, ska frontwoman Beebs, and Courtney P from the band New Kingston. Eric says, “This new album is similar to the first in that we felt free to do whatever we wanted. There was no timetable to follow or any pressure to produce a certain sound.”

Since 2009, the duo had shared the stage on multiple tours together, and their collaboration traces back to sound checks and late night jams after shows. However, during late summer 2014, Eric invited Amp Live to his San Francisco home in order to formally record together. For the first time, the musicians found themselves in a studio environment with no distractions and a singular focus. The resulting self-titled first album came out in 2016 and quickly caught on with fans across different genres. Songs like “My Space,” “My Only (feat. Busy Signal),” and their leftfield cover of R.E.M.’s “Losing My Religion” stood out.

Eric turned back his focus to Rebelution, who released Free Rein in 2018, which was the best-selling reggae album of the year in the U.S. Amp kept busy, as well, releasing his own album Gate 13 (2018), as well as remixing and producing constantly.

“The lyrical content on Headlines is mostly intended to combat stereotypes of minorities in our daily news,” says Eric. “The album is intended to motivate our listeners to embrace who they are. Different is special.”

“Headline,” the first official single, epitomizes this lyrical approach. Eric says, “This song is basically saying, ‘we have a new headline and a new message of acceptance.’ It’s time to focus on what we all do right.”

“This is a great song to pave the way for our second album,” Amp reflects. “We really wanted this project to pick up the pace and be straight to the point in terms of message and sound.”

“Unique,” a collaboration with Reverie, is bound to turn heads. “This is my favorite song on the album,” says Eric about it. “When we wrote the instrumental, it truly felt like it was a unique beat. I thought the word ‘unique’ was hard to say in a song, but the more I thought about it the more I couldn’t turn back. It became the name of the song and a recurring word said throughout.”

Even when it comes to a love song, the thematic approach applied, as with “Two Days.” Eric points out, “It’s about how important it is to be yourself in your relationships. At the end of the day, someone will love you for you, not a fictitious version of you.”

“I think the reason why Unified Highway resonates with people is because the music represents inclusion. People from all different backgrounds can get down with this music and lyrical content,” Eric says.