The attraction of the streets is sometimes too strong for many poor, disenfranchised youth growing up in the dangerous, drug-infested slums of urban America to resist. For some, the allure of fast money, fast cars and fast women can trump the possible pitfalls of making just one false move in the game.
Between the crooked cops, police informants and a corrupt justice system to jealous jack boys, scheming females looking for a come-up and high STD rates plaguing the black community, many men fall as victims in the trap. Others, such as Broward County bad man A.M.P. Fetti, manage to survive the concrete jungle and live to tell their story.
Coming up from the depths of poverty and raised in an area of Ft. Lauderdale engulfed with neighborhood crime, A.M.P. Fetti has seen it all and been through more drama than most of us could stand. And he has been faithfully providing the rough, hard-edged soundtrack for the streets with six heavily circulated, ghetto-appreciated mixtapes.
His latest singles “Million Dollar Phone” and “Can’t Help It,” both featuring rapper/ Fetti Records CEO Rich Fetti, have been blowing up regionally and online, while setting the stage for a joint project from A.M.P. and Rich called Paper Chase 2 featuring Rick Ross and YNW Melly.
“My music is for the streets,” A.M.P. explains. “I make music for people who can relate to the same struggles I’ve had, being where I’m from. So I talk about the things that people go through: people getting killed, the pain of everyday life, how some people ain’t right. And I do it in a Southern style mixed with trap and add a lot of metaphors, wordplay and similes.”
Born Anthony Toussaint and raised by a Haitian father and American mother on the east side of Ft. Lauderdale, A.M.P. was brought into a world of agony. His father was mostly in and out of his life. The youngest of one sister and two brothers, he hardly got the chance to know any of siblings.
His sister moved to North Carolina when he was a kid. When A.M.P. was 11, his oldest brother had a nervous breakdown in prison and A.M.P. hadn’t heard from him since. And his middle brother came up missing for several years after suffering from a nervous breakdown. With little guidance from his older brothers and sisters, young Anthony got caught up with the wrong crowd and kicked out of school in tenth grade.
“They kicked me out of high school for not coming to school on time,” he admits. “I used to come during second and third period. Some days I didn’t come because I been in the streets all night hustling.”
So when he quit school, A.M.P. turned to hustling full time. “I stayed on the block. When I went outside, I was in the area where it goes down, so I was forced to be right in it,” A.M.P. explains. “I took to the street life to take care of myself because my parents couldn’t afford to buy me the nice shoes or have money in my pocket.”
When he wasn’t hugging the block to make ends meet, A.M.P. could always be found freestyling with his friends. “I was the one that everyone wanted to see rap. It was natural for me,” he recalls. “Everybody was spreading word around the block, like, ‘this fat boy know how to rap. He sounds good.’”
In middle school, he got with a group of guys to form a group known as Burna Boys. They found a studio in the neighborhood and began recording music. Unfortunately, the group disbanded before they could officially release any music, A.M.P. learned valuable lessons about putting music together.
Instead of pursuing his dreams of becoming a fulltime rapper, he put the microphone to the side, dove head first into the streets and spent much of his late teens and early 20s in and out of jail.
His life began to change after meeting Streets, who along with business partner Rich Fetti, started their own label Fetti Records. “Every day I saw him, he would ask me to rap but I didn’t want to rap,” A.M.P. thinks back. “One day, I saw him and rapped for him. He just couldn’t believe it.”
Streets introduced A.M.P. to Rich, and they took him to the studio within a couple of days. A.M.P. was the first artist on the label. In a terrible twist of fate, he was locked up on a drug trafficking charge just as they were set to drop some of his music. While serving a year in the belly of the beast, his music was blowing up in the free world.
“When I was in jail, people were coming up to me telling me that they were playing my music on the underground radio stations,” he reveals. “It felt like I didn’t do all of it for nothing.”
As soon as his feet touched down on free ground, he recorded more than 100 songs that he had been writing while locked up. His single “I’m A G” and 2010 debut mixtape Dope Supply were soon released. Just as his career was beginning to take off, however, both of his CEOs got jammed up with the law. Streets ended up going to federal prison for 12 years, and Rich was placed on house arrest while fighting a case of his own.
Even though they were faced with seemingly insurmountable obstacles, they didn’t give up on the music. “They would tell me to do this and that, go to the radio stations, go meet promoters. It was kind of hard because it was just me doing so much by myself,” he says. “If they were there out, it would have been a little bit easier. But at the same time, it made me learn.”
Along the way and through the struggles, he dropped mixtapes Dope Supply, Streets Need Me, Feel Good Music, King Peezy and Back To The Streets in 2017.
Now after a two-year hiatus, A.M.P. is back like he never left with latest singles “Million Dollar Phone” and “Can’t Help It,” both featuring rapper/ Fetti Records CEO Rich Fetti blowing up regionally and online, as well as a joint project Rich called Paper Chase 2 featuring Rick Ross and YNW Melly.
“The fans have been missing me. They have been asking for more music, and it feels really good,” says A.M.P. “A lot of people are showing us a lot of love. They are loving the music, but they just want more. And we’re going to give it to them.”