It is rare that you come across a group of entertainers that consists of singers, choreographers, actors, rappers and dancers all together. The Amount Boyz has managed to break the mold of stereotypical boy bands with their amazing combination of talent. Although the group has been around for nearly ten years, they are still categorized as NYCs Best Kept Secret. Throughout their career so far, the group has worked with artists such as Mario, Diddy, Janet Jackson, Mashonda, JoJo, Amerie and thats just the short list.
In an exclusive interview with AllHipHop Alternatves.com the Amount Boyz discuss the distinct qualities they possess as all-around entertainers, the release of their independent debut F.A.M.E.), and unveil whats next for the group.
AllHipHop.com Alternatives: How did the Amount Boyz get started? Who are the members of the group?
Ant Boogie: The members consist of Nova, Smirk Dollarz, Ant Boogie, A Dub, JB, Kanec and Mike Stylez. Were a dance group, but at one point in time we were all artists, and we tried to merge as one to make better music.
AHHA: I notice that yall have the nickname New Yorks Best Kept Secret. Where did you get the nickname from?
Ant Boogie: I think it came from a show, but one of the emcees said it [while referring to us] and we liked the ring to it. Weve been together as a group since 1996 and we havent exploded. A lot of people still dont know about us, so I feel that were a secret. But the people that do know about us know that were on top of our game and that were probably one of the hottest groups coming out of New York right now. We are all born and raised in New York, we all dance and do music. We are all-around entertainers, and not to toot our own horns, but there arent many groups that have that anymore. I dont even know many groups that can say they have choreographers, rappers, singers, dancers and actors in one group. Some people may call it a curse, but we consider it a gift.
AHHA: I did some research and it said that the initial founders of Amount Boyz were Ant Boogie and A Dub. Is this information accurate? If so, when did everybody else join the group?
Nova: Ant Boogie and A Dub did start the group in high school at LaGuardia High School. I joined the group in late 2000, early 2001. As a vocalist, I was part of a group before and Ant had the vision of having an entertainment company. Other members added on since then. JB was a member since high school. Mike Stylez is pretty new to the group, but hes been with us about two to three years now, also Kanec hes been down for about two to three years now. Of course Smirk was there from high school as well.
AHHA: So its like people who you feel are worthy enough to get down with the Amount Boyz can get down before yall really pop, and the group can continue to growright?
Smirk Dollarz: We got cats that will roll with us at shows for like a year and dance with us and the whole nine, and we still dont consider them part of the group. Not to sound shady or anything but theres a special element thats in this group. We are watching every step that you do, like what type of person you are. We got know who they arethey gotta rock with us. We gotta know that they are an Amount Boy.
AHHA: Nova, how does it feel being the only [singing] vocalist?
Nova: Its a good feeling, but it has its blessings and its responsibilities. Being that its a group with two emcees, it can kinda get challenging when it comes down to the writing. But it helps me grow as a writer and it helps me expand and start to challenge myself a lot more. I thank God for the blessings that He gave me to be in a situation like this. Its truly a blessing.
AHHA: Did you gain more notoriety as a group after winning BETs Revamped?
Ant Boogie: Yea, we definitely got the commercial attention after Revamped. Prior to Revamped we were still doing videos, doing shows and dancing with artists. At that time actually, some of us were dancing for Mario. But as a whole I think that was the first time that a mass amount of people in the U.S. got to see the Amount Boyz in our element. The pressure was on, but thats one thing this group does we work under pressure very well.
AHHA: You represented the U.S. in a recent competition in London. How does it make you feel going to dance to represent the U.S.?
Smirk Dollarz: To speak on everybodys behalf, I think its a great feeling and a huge accomplishment for us to be put on a pedestal to represent the U.S. is crazy. I wouldve never expected for us to get to that hype and be recognized like that. Its great to be considered for the position to go out and rep our country.
AHHA: Whats the most exciting project that the Amount Boyz has been a part of?
Ant Boogie: Ive been grinding so long and during the Scream III tour with Mario, his manager, Troy Patterson, allowed me to bring the entire group on tour and gave us five minutes out of Marios 40-minute set. Being able to hear the audience of 30,000 people screaming is something I can never forget. In the future when we look back in five or ten years it was a historical moment for us as an independent group. Also, it was the F.A.M.E. contest where we performed with a live band. We sold between 800-900 tickets by word of mouth for that show; nothing was promoted by radio or TV for that show. And Im glad we got this recorded on DVD, this is a documentary that we can always be proud of.
AHHA: Talk to me a little bit about the album.
Smirk Dollarz: The title of the album is F.A.M.E., and it stands for Focused, Ambitious, Motivated Entertainers. The album is a compilation that was made by Amount Entertainment that features Amount Boyz and a funk soul group that we were overseeing called Urban Set. The tracks are divided between us and them. As far as our songs its mix of Rap songs, us wilding out and true Hip-Hop; its everything that comes from us, we make the music how we want to make it.
AHHA: The main lyricists of Amount Boyz are Ant Boogie, Smirk Dollarz and Nova - will there be a time where the other members of the group will want to cross over and step to the mic?
Ant Boogie: Yes, definitely because were just a group that always has tricks up our sleeves. Were just the three that do the bulk of the music now, but definitely you will see other sides of this group. Thats what makes us entertainers, because you gotta keep yourself hot and always have something new.
AHHA: Whats next for you?
Ant Boogie: We have a couple of TV opportunities that may be opening for us. I cant really talk about it too much, but if all goes well we wont be an unknown group much longer, well be all over the place. Of course well be releasing some new material. Were working with some new producers. Our tour mixtape is dropping. And basically getting that music out, and let people see that were just going to keep on coming with the entertainment and talent that we have.
AHHA: Would you ever stop entertaining and work behind the scenes in the entertainment field?
Ant Boogie: Nah, maybe when Im like 50-year-old. I think were going to dance until we cant anymore.
AHHA: What are some of the immediate and/or long term goals that you would like to see the Amount Boyz accomplish?
Ant Boogie: As for long term, Id like to see Amount Entertainment be a colossal company that helps out getting music entertainment out there to what it was when people my mothers age listened to; to bring entertainment level back to what it used to be. I feel like our generation is being cheated because the music industry is all about making a buck, not the quality of music. If were in a position where we are doing our thing as a group then we can help other people. Id like to see a legendary group become legendary artists and legendary business men.
AHHA: Can you just tell me a little bit about Amount Entertainment?
Nova: Right now we are an independent entertainment company. We have an in house production companyRain Entertainment. Our DVD and album are both available on our website at www.amountboyz.com.