Amos Larkins II on Miami Bass, "Ghetto Jump," and Who Left Luke's Name Off the Sunnyview Label
Amos Larkins II invented Miami Bass production.
Photo by Anthony Larkins Amos Larkins II in the Sunnyview Records studio.
As an in-house artist/producer/engineer for Henry Stone and Morris Levy's Sunnyview Records label, he came up with regional and international hits on a signature style of party rap with sustained 808 kicks that dropped like no others. They became the prototype for a distinct style of music that still reverberates today.
Working under a litany of aliases, he produced hits and underground gems alike. And in the case of "Ghetto Jump," he set in motion a chain of events that led to the foundation of Uncle Luke's empire. Here's what Amos Larkins has to say about all this in his own words.
Amos says, "I produced, wrote, engineered, and did the beats and music to some real Miami Bass classics like 'Ghetto Jump.'
"Uncle Luke, who was called Luke Skyywalker back in the day, suggested that I produce a track on this and came up with the concept; and Joe Stone claims I didn't give Uncle Luke his credit.
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"That's not how that went down. I mean I love Joe, but Joe Stone is coming out of left field with that silly, make-believe dream shit that he's making up in his little dream world head to twist up history. And he's trying to save face and make his self-look like he played some big important pioneering part in that era (and that in itself is total bullshit) because it was the other way around.
"And I'm gonna straighten this shit out once and for all and tell how the shit really went down. But before I do that, I have to briefly explain to you how we used to hustle records back in the day to paint a picture and to put you right there with us.
"You see back in the day (1984 -1986) I was Henry Stone's hit man for Sunnyview Records. That was his big label. He also had a bunch of small labels to release and regionally distribute records for the purpose of testing the reaction before releasing them on the big label, Sunnyview. Some of the small labels were On Records, Nezz Records, and Prime Choice, to name a few.
"Anyways, back in those days, I was allowed to produce and release five records a week. I was so hot back then that if I released five records in a week, at least three of them would be local and regional hits. So once a week, I would go to Luke when he and the Ghetto Style DJs would be performing in dance halls and skating rinks up in Liberty City and Carol City places like the Pac Jam and Studio 183 and Super Star Roller Tech.
"Luke had and still has platinum ears, meaning he could pick a hit like it wasn't shit. I mean, Luke knew his market, he knew what they liked, and what they didn't like and that muthafucka was never wrong, he could pick 'em, man.
"I would show up either when the show was just starting up or when they were setting up the sound check. I would always bring all five of my productions for the week with me in hand and would ask Luke to take a listen to them all. Luke would put them on the turntable right then and start evaluating them right there and give me a yea or a nay.
"One time I took him a record and he said to me, 'What the fuck you doin' with them toms man? Them toms is fuckin up the beat man, nobody can't dance to that shit. Take them toms out.' Hahaha, but 90% of the time Luke was feeling my shit. That's how Luke was. He was straight up like that, and I valued his friendship more than any red-headed stepchild would ever come close to doing."