“Back Again in the house again.” –Back Again, The Alchemist.
Hip-hop students please get your pencils out. This is a test. You only have forty-five minutes in which to complete fourteen short essays. Rhymes, if you will. You may begin now. . .
The Alchemist has done it once again adding another album to his already extensively successful track record (get it, track record). His latest effort, Rappers Best Friend, sets forth fourteen tracks that will challenge any worthy opponent. Named one of The Source magazine top producers of 2002, The Alchemist has developed is own niche in the hip-hop game as a certified track-master, living up to the hype of his moniker. Al began his career as the younger half of the duo The Wooligans and has paid his dues through hits with Mobb Deep, Dialated Peoples, Royce da 59, and Defari. His work is admired by peers and fans alike because he knows his place- that’s behind the board. Not every producer can rap (or Hip-hop magazine editor for that matter) and not every rapper can produce; thankfully The Alchemist read that memo.
If you’re a sample-lover like me, then check out Back Again, Bring You Light or Shine. I got personally hooked on “Stuck to You,” with a soulful chipmunk sample proclaiming, “I’m hot. I’m stuck to you. Just like glue. I love you. I swear I do.” Musically, I’m feeling the brass and string arrangements on Stop Frontin, with a looped Barry White sample. Its classic.
While the track titles foreshadow Al’s thoughts about his own work, there still remains much left to the imagination. In my opinion the vibe on G-Type, Guns is Razors, and Gun Check probably will not leave that grimy gangsta taste in your mouth, however Al leaves the door wide open for a little subjective interpretation. This body of work is genius, but I could have done with a few stronger bass lines here and there.
Overall, this is album is simple, clean hip-hop with no bullshyt-just how I like it. Listening to it is like the equivalent of reading a book instead of watching the movie; a little more effort, but worth the time. This album is indeed a must have for emcees who need to test their skills. It’s a no-brainer; you get out of this what you put into it. I challenge you to listen to this album and not start a freestyle. The Alchemist brings out the emcee in all of us. Damn yall, I think I’m in love. . .