Unified Highway – comprised of Rebelution vocalist/guitarist Eric Rachmany and renowned producer, DJ, and remixer Amp Live (formerly of Zion I) – are back with their second full-length album, Headlines. The new album is out today on Easy Star Records and available anywhere you buy or stream music.
Headlines builds on the foundation of Unified Highway’s successful 2017 debut, while adding new layers, features, and infectious excursions into electro-reggae-pop music. The album has appearances by Reverie, Del Tha Funky Homosapien, Beebs, Million Stylez, Courtney P (of New Kingston), and Karim Israel (of Arise Roots). Already, Headlines has received accolades from tastemakers like Hip Hop DX, Boomshots, UndergroundHipHopBlog, and The Cypher Effect.
“This new album is similar to the first in that we felt free to do whatever we wanted,” says Eric Rachmany. “There was no timetable to follow or any pressure to produce a certain sound. The lyrical content on Headlines is mostly intended to combat stereotypes of minorities in our daily news and motivate our listeners to embrace who they are. Different is special.”
The 12-track album is stacked with standouts, including “Unique” (featuring hip hop artist Reverie), which Eric Rachmany calls his favorite song on the album. “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.”
The track is accompanied by a music video, directed by David Dutton, highlighting the group’s message of diversity, inclusion, positivity, and shining hope.
Headlines comes at a time of great uncertainty, heightened fear, and prejudice in the world. “On top of the overall sound, we really feel like the lyrics need to be heard at this time,” says Eric. “There’s too much negative and hateful speech regarding minorities. We’re here to provide a new message that WE think should be in the headlines and that is to embrace our differences. We want to focus more on what different people bring to the table instead of highlighting what they do wrong.”
Another highlight is “The Truth,” a spaced out, dubby song that demands truth during the age of misinformation. Eric Rachmany states, “That was one of the last songs we wrote for the album. It couldn’t come at a more relevant time considering all the different statistics and statements being presented by our government and media. It makes you wonder what is truly factual. Even without many lyrics, this song tells its own story instrumentally.”
The thematic approach applies to love songs too, as with the jazzy, R&B-influenced track “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 yourself.”
Reflecting back on the new album, Eric comments, “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.”