Dream/Clone has the skills needed to pay the bills

According to Richey, the duo made their start here at Amherst College “just messing around” for one of Stasiak’s music classes. The idea grew on the duo, and their work at the College became the beginnings of their rap album. Richey and Stasiak spent much of their senior year writing songs and even performed on campus several times. After their graduation last May, they moved into what friends call a “one-room shanty” outside of Boston, where they finished writing the album. They then spent time recording, mixing and mastering it all themselves. “Futue Holds Nothing” was recently finished under their own independent record label, and they are currently working on promoting it.

The two have not exactly taken the path well-trodden by most Amherst graduates. In addition to working on their album, Stasiak, a music major who sings the hooks and makes the beats for the album, works as a mover, while Richey, a philosophy major who performs all the rapping, draws on his strong academic background to play poker for a living.

Stasiak studied piano and voice all his life, beginning his musical career in church and school choirs. He learned to play the guitar during high school and began writing rock songs before finding his niche in rapping and acting as what friends call a “one-man beat box.” Richey began taking rapping seriously at Amherst, where the pair was able to successfully combine Stasiak’s musical savvy with Richey’s creativity. Dream/Clone has moved on to performing at clubs in Boston, where friends Devon Haran ’03 and Chris Nasson ’03 claim that he “doubles as a mic stand” due to his stature.

“Future Holds Nothing” is a bold departure from the usual style of most rap albums. While there are some upbeat tracks on the album, many of the songs are darker and handle serious subject matter. Rather than focusing on catchy hooks that overwhelm songs, Stasiak’s hooks are more subtle, and Richey’s verses are more lyrically than rhythmically important.

While Dream/Clone’s lyrics digress from stereotypical rap themes, the album does include songs like “Livin 4 the Bottle” and “Fade Away,” a story about two girls whose lives are consumed by drugs and sex. Richey and Stasiak combine party beats with serious and, at times, admonitory lyrics.

It seems odd to see such themes coming from Amherst graduates. Richey, in the title track, claims to be “the one you gotta keep the needle from.” As to the source of Richey’s inspiration, fellow alum Devon Haran ’03 suggested that Richey’s background is similar to that of any other rapper, asking, “Did Richey tell you were he’s from? He’s from suburban Pittsburgh. And his dad’s name is Jerome-which is probably the only thing he has in common with black rappers.” Like most mothers of rappers, Mrs. Richey works as a librarian.

Just like Notorious B.I.G., whom he cites as an influence on his album, Richey started out as a cross-country runner, which helped him get off the mean streets of Mount Lebanon, and into Amherst. Talk about a life of crime. Once at Amherst, Jarrett Solomon ’03 recalls nights with Richey where “all we did was sit in his room and listen to everybody from Moby to Snow.”

Whatever the motivation behind the album, Dream/Clone definitely has potential. Music samples can be found on the pair’s website, www.wedidthistoyou.com. From the looks of it, their album title, “Future Holds Nothing,” does not refer to their careers.