University of Oregon sophomore Amos Lachman hadn’t developed his appreciation for hip-hop music until he began listening to the Wu-Tang Clan as a youthfully curious middle school student. Soaking in the legendary New York-based hip-hop group’s inventive lyricism and collaborative style, Lachman discovered his passion for rapping early in life through inspirational songs such as “C.R.E.A.M,” “Protect Ya Neck,” and others by the Wu-Tang Clan. From that point forward, Lachman has devoted his spare time to crafting his own unique rap style and manifesting dreams of following his musical idol’s footsteps.
This past April, Lachman’s life came full circle when he took to the stage of Eugene, Oregon’s WOW Hall to perform an opening act for founding member of the Wu-Tang Clan, Ghostface Killah. In that instant, Lachman transformed into his alter ego, the rapper Lachdown, and proceeded to provide his hometown crowd with a much-needed dose of hip-hop.
“It was a crazy turn of events,” says Lachman. “The first time I was taking rap seriously, I was listening to Wu-Tang Clan. Having the very first time that I’m performing rap seriously to be for somebody from Wu-Tang Clan . . .Yeah, that was pretty nuts.”
Growing up in Eugene, Lachman’s exposure to hip-hop culture was fairly limited. While most of his childhood peers had their iPods tuned to rock and pop, Lachman was jamming to old school rap. According to Lachman, Oregon’s second-largest city does not fall on the radar of established hip-hop scenes in America, which made it difficult for Lachman to immerse himself in the genre.
“Eugene has a pretty minimal rap scene, and what scene there is, isn’t really anything I’m trying to be a part of,” he says. “I’m trying to pave my own way, and if I can elevate Eugene to the top of the music map, that’d be sick, but I’m just trying to maximize what I can do in a town that doesn’t have a lot of rap listeners.”
Nonetheless, the South Eugene High School graduate still managed to satisfy his ears’ craving for beats and rhymes by exploring the Internet. Eventually, after absorbing the ins-and-outs of rap, Lachman was inspired to write his own lyrics.
“Rap is absolutely a useful medium to get out stuff that I wouldn’t talk about otherwise,” he says.
During his senior year of high school, Lachman joined forces with a few of his friends, including fellow hip-hop artist Ricardo Carrizales to form a Wu Tang Clan inspired rap group named “Krew and the Gang.” With the support of Carrizales’ production expertise, Lachman began experimenting with recording and editing tracks.
After graduating from SEHS, Lachman and Carrizales began drifting away from the original Krew and directed attention toward a new venture—Lachdown. By focusing on finely crafted lyricism and well-developed beat production, the collaborative project went on to release several hip-hop samples, until eventually the artists dropped their first demo, I Rap, earlier this year.
Humble may be an overstatement when describing the duo’s recording studio. Nothing more than a microphone a music stand, a maximum of one person can squeeze in the broom closet that these housemates turned into a makeshift vocal booth.
“It reminds us of the Harry Potter cupboard,” says Carrizales. “For being recorded in a broom closet, our music sounds pretty good.”
Although Lachman had performed at many house parties and small events in the past year, the musicians sought out a grander stage. Between creating new songs and experimenting with sounds, Lachman persistently contacted local venues asking for a chance to “spit on their stage.” Ultimately the diligence paid dividends when Lachman received a one-line email from a WOW Hall concert promoter in late-March. The email read, “You have been approved to open for Ghostface Killah.”
Lachman had finally booked the gig needed to propel the Eugene hip-hop project to relevance. In front of a packed crowd eager to witness a show performed by one of the nineties’ greatest rappers, Lachman’s childhood dream was realized as he riddled his lyrics into the microphone.
As Lachman delivered his WOW Hall premier performance, reveling in the satisfaction of opening for his hero, the local hip-hop star had a few special spectators listening from the audience.
The child of two University of Oregon professors, Lachman was pleased to realize his parents are among some of his biggest supporters. Such big fans, in fact, that they insisted on purchasing tickets to watch their son rap in his most memorable concert thus far.
“My parents are very supportive of my rap ambitions, surprisingly so for middle-aged professors,” Lachman says. “My mom is behind me 100 percent. She used to be the ‘band mom’ that would love to go to shows and lug around our equipment when I first picked up instruments. She definitely kept that enthusiasm as I switched genres and still listens to my music.”
Standing a few feet from his parents at the Ghostface Killah show, a couple of cameramen gathered footage of the up-and-coming hip-hop artist. If all goes according to plan, Lachman is slated to star in a reality show with the purpose of helping its subjects achieve their ambitions. The University of Oregon student is contractually obligated to not disclose information about his upcoming pop culture stint, but is excited and hopes the show will air within the next year.
Until then, Lachman plans to continue producing more tracks and will be working hard in the broom closet.
“Right now, I’m just trying to write as many songs as possible to get some material ready for my next mixtape,” says Lachman. “I’m hoping to take this summer as a time to really focus on locking down.”