The Lique knows how to move a crowd … to support its music

Music fans no longer want to pay for music. That’s the song everybody’s singing these days, right?

The Lique disproved this notion in just 36 days with the help of 52 fans.

The jazzy Las Vegas-based hip-hop band launched a crowdfunding campaign May 30 to raise $5,000 to pay for its album and tour. On Independence Day, the group announced it had raised $5,092.

That’s what happens when you focus on making music that’s actually worth buying.

The Lique (pronounced “leak”) has been working on that since day one. The band formed in February 2015 when a mutual friend introduced rapper Rasar Amani to guitarist Sean Carbone. Amani had moved to Vegas in 2014 for a job with the short-lived variety show “Nocturne” at The Cosmopolitan. He was contemplating a move to New York after the show ended, when he met Carbone, who wanted to start a band and already players in mind.

The five-piece group’s chemistry was instant. The Lique started playing shows right away and has emerged as the local scene’s most promising act.

Sharpening its sound onstage, the group has made fans by playing all over Vegas, everywhere from the Brooklyn Bowl to the Sayers Club, where it landed a mini-residency. The group is also one of the local acts due at Life is Beautiful this fall.

This week, the Lique releases its debut album, “Democracy Manifest.” Fans who staked the band can expect a healthy return on their investment. The record’s the complete package and grows more rewarding the deeper you dig, with a variety of textures and styles. It’s a solid representation of the band’s multilayered sound, which is built on a fusion of jazz with rock, funk, soul and R&B.

The Lique comprises accomplished musicians from the jazz program at University of Nevada, Las Vegas, most of whom were raised in Las Vegas, including keyboardist Jason Corpuz, bassist Nick Schmitt and drummer Jeremy Klewicki. The setup typically inspires immediate comparisons to the Roots.

While aesthetically there are similarities to the “Tonight Show” house band, musically the Lique has more in common with “Jazzmatazz”-era Guru and artists such as Kamasi Washington and Thundercat, who played on Kendrick Lamar’s critically acclaimed album “To Pimp A Butterfly.”

The Lique developed a devoted following in Vegas thanks to Amani’s engaging stage presence and his bandmates’ masterful musicality. The Lique always makes sure the audience gets its money’s worth.

But the band has much more to offer than just a great live show. Amani crafts incisive, thought-provoking lyrics and has a dexterous delivery that comes through clearly on the album. Whether offering biting social commentary or taking cynical stabs at music industry execs, he’s consistently compelling.

He’s had plenty of practice. Although this is the Lique’s first album, it’s Amani’s 10th release. He was a regionally successful rapper from Sacramento, California, before moving to Vegas. Amani says his mother, a communications professor, encouraged him to express himself growing up.

He excels there with lyrics like these: “On paper, this is a republic that we’re living in / Theoretically, we’re a supreme power prohibiting / Any type of monarchy / It’s a plutocracy / Bipartisan arguments devastate democracy / What is anarchy, not too many know / We only need government when we lack self control.”

With such lyricism, the Lique clearly isn’t trying to tap into current trends. The outfit has a dim view of today’s mainstream music.

“We try to spend a lot of time focusing on music that we do love,” Amani says. “But I’d be remiss if I said that we aren’t deeply disgusted by the lack of originality and the lack of creativity (in popular music). It’s something that I think disturbs us.”

That drive to be different appeals to fans and keeps them engaged.

“What we’ve seen is people are hungry, man,” Amani says. “People deeply want to feel that music is still real, that you can still connect with people and it’s not merely for entertainment.”

Read more from Dave Herrera at Contact him at and follow @rjmusicdh on Twitter.

Entertainment Videos
Andrew Carmean will be the only local participant in upcoming demolition derby
Andrew Carmean, a demolition driver, will be the only local participant in upcoming derby at the Plaza Hotel. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Masso Osteria first anniversary in Las Vegas
Scott Conant was in town Tuesday to host a one-year anniversary party for his Red Rock Resort restaurant Masso Osteria.
Baked Alaska a specialty at Favorite Bistro in Las Vegas
Award-winning pastry chef Claude Escamilla makes Baked Alaska with strawberry sorbet and vanilla gelato and flames it at Favorite Bistro at The Linq Promenade in Las Vegas. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Chili cooks face fierce and friendly competition at Nevada cook-off
Forty chili cooks competed in the Nevada State Chili Cookoff in Pahrump on Sunday, March 17, 2019, with the winners advancing to the World Championship Chili Cook-off in Des Moines, Iowa. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Arcade ‘speakeasy’ leads to secret door and Banksy art in Las Vegas
Arcade ‘speakeasy’ leads to secret door, Banksy art in Las Vegas (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Hazel in Las Vegas serves modern takes on traditional cocktails
Hazel serves modern takes on traditional cocktails (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas celebrates St. Patrick's Day
Tonight the city lit the Welcome sign green, McMullan's Irish Pub and the Guinness store also prepare for this weekend's St. Patrick's Day festivities. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Reuben sandwich at Served in Henderson, near Las Vegas
Matthew Meyer, chef/owner of Served, makes a Reuben sandwich with house-brined corned beef, house-made sauerkraut and gooey melted cheese at his restaurant in Henderson, outside Las Vegas. Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal
Las Vegas day club season returns with big-name DJs
Rick Ross, March 23, at Daylight Beach Club at Mandalay Bay The Chainsmokers, March 30, at Encore Beach Club Marshmello, April 6, Kaos Dayclub at the Palms Chuckie, May 11, Marquee Dayclub at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas Calvin Harris, May 11, Wet Republic at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
Pizza expert Chris Bianco makes meatballs in Las Vegas
Chris Bianco, who was the keynote speaker at the International Pizza Expo in Las Vegas, demonstrates meatball making for expo attendees. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Las Vegas pulmonologist talks about new movie dealing with cystic fibrosis
Dr. Craig Nakamura, Director of Cystic Fibrosis Center of Southern Nevada, talks about the upcoming romantic drama “Five Feet Apart” where both of the lead characters suffer from cystic fibrosis. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
World Pizza Champion crowned in Las Vegas
At the International Pizza Expo in Las Vegas, Italian pizzaiolo Federico De Silvestri took the top prize and more than $12,000. Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal
Italian wins Pizza Maker of the Year at Pizza Expo
Federico De Silvestri of Verona, Italy, wins the finals in the non-traditional pizza category during the International Pizza Challenge at the International Pizza Expo at the Las Vegas Convention Center Thursday, March 7, 2019. De Silvestri went on to beat winners from each of the four other categories — traditional, pan, pizza Napoletana and Roman — to win Pizza Maker of the Year. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Good Pie Coming To Arts District
Local pizzaiolo Vincent Rotolo says Good Pie is coming to the Arts District. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Local comedian says "It's ok to laugh, ...the comedy club is dark."
K-Von, a half-Persian comedian, talks about his style of comedy which keeps audiences entertained.
Pizza Dough Throwing Competition
Contestants participate in the World Pizza Games at the International Pizza Expo in Las Vegas, Wednesday night. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
World Pizza Games showcased in Las Vegas
The World Pizza Games, part of the International Pizza Expo, drew competitors from all over the world to Las Vegas to compete in events such as dough stretching and box folding. Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal
Pizza competitors dazzle at international expo
The International Pizza Expo at Las Vegas Convention Center included the first rounds of the World Pizza Games. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
International Pizza Expo in Las Vegas showcases products and trends
At the International Pizza Expo in Las Vegas, vegan and gluten-free menu choices and compostable packaging were highlighted, as well as Detroit-style and Roman-style pizza. Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal
Chef Dan Krohmer talks about a new restaurant
Chef Dan Krohmer talks about the construction of his new restaurant at Fremont Street’s Fergusons Downtown complex in downtown Las Vegas. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Neon Museum lights up the Hard Rock Cafe guitar sign
The Neon Museum in Las Vegas flipped the switch on its latest acquisition Monday night, the Hard Rock Cafe guitar sign. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
A Taste of Eataly Las Vegas
Executive Chef Nicole Brisson gives a tour around Eataly Las Vegas, located in the Park MGM. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
Order a pretty purple cocktail at North Italia in Las Vegas
Order a pretty purple cocktail at North Italia in Las Vegas (Janna Karel/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Towering triple decker sandwich at Sadelle’s at Bellagio in Las Vegas
Jonah Resnick, executive chef of Sadelle’s, the newest restaurant at Bellagio in Las Vegas, serves a daunting concoction of roast beef layered with house-made cole slaw, turkey and more cole slaw, on rye bread. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal)
Paris Las Vegas Debuts New Eiffel Tower Light Show
The Paris in Las Vegas unveiled its latest Eiffel Tower light show, Wednesday evening. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Video: Las Vegas Omelet House Marks 40th anniversary
Omelet House at Charleston Boulevard and Rancho Drive in Las Vegas, which opened in 1979, is a locals’ favorite, known for fluffy six-egg omelets. Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal
Golden Knights' Ryan Reaves readying new beer
Ryan Reaves, a forward with the Golden Knights, has plans for a second beer, a lager, through his 7Five Brewing Co. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Bellagio Adds Lady Gaga To The Fountain Playlist
Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” has been added to the rotation of classic tunes played for the dancing waters at Lake Bellagio. The song debuted at 6 p.m. Monday. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
Comedian uses laughter to bring understanding about AIDS
Comedian Brandon Cox Sanford talks about how he uses his comedy sketches to bring light to his AIDS diagnosis. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
20th anniversary of the House of Blues in Las Vegas
Sasha Rincon-Camacho, regional marketing director, talks about the 20th anniversary of the House of Blues in Las Vegas. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Home Front Page Footer Listing