Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Alchemist

Here's an article from back in the day

Earning His STRIPES
Although The Alchemist's first group, The Whooliganz, disbanded in the mid-'90s, Al stayed close with the Soul Assassins team — especially its producer, DJ Muggs, who became his mentor and frequent collaborator. “I worked a lot with Muggs under the radar,” The Alchemist says. “I was still coming up. I had just learned how to make beats, and I was just eager. So Muggs kinda took me in. We would collaborate on beats a lot; I was living at his crib damn near every day. I would just crash on the couch; we'd wake up and make joints. It was for the [Cypress Hill III: Temples of Boom] album. I was blessed to be in the circle and just be able to learn.

“Our working relationship was great because there was always a respect for each other's talents and skills,” Al continues. “At that time in my career, I was still a nobody trying to come up, and Muggs was one of the biggest names in music, so, naturally, he ran the show, and I found ways to add on and fit in. I was nice with the [Ensoniq] ASR-10 keyboard, which was good for manipulating samples because of the extended sample time and the feel of the keys, and Muggs was the man with the [E-mu] SP-1200, which was the shit for drums because of the gritty sound because of the sample rate. We knew each other's strengths: I'd usually work the music, and he'd work the drums. But at the end of the day, it was Muggs' call on what we'd keep or erase, and I always respected that.

“It was a great learning experience because he had the know-how to produce songs and albums in their entirety — all the meticulous details involved with making a hit record from start to finish — whereas at that time, I was still just a beat maker wrapped up in sample-chopping techniques and drum sounds, kinda like a driver who looks only 10 feet ahead when driving, when Muggs was looking miles ahead. However, his style of producing was very renegade and unorthodox, and I was all into precision and discovering new techniques, also working with technology to take shit to the next level, so we taught each other things. The most important thing I learned from Muggs was to never be lazy, to take a song or album to the next level and carefully scan the entire body of work slowly with a magnifying glass to make sure every second of the song was right.

“He was — he still is — like a big brother to me,” The Alchemist concludes. “He was keeping me paid. I'd have $1,000 cash in my pocket — it was great; we were eating at Benihana everyday. Then, the album came out, and everything said, ‘Produced by Muggs.’ I didn't really have any credit anywhere. But at that time, I really didn't trip. I was very confident with it because I knew that I was making my mark, and I was earning my stripes. There was a handful of my friends who I grew up with being like, ‘Yo, man, what's up? Why is your name not on here?’ So I had to correct them so they could understand that was part of the game. It helped me realize that I needed to become Alchemist. And I owe Muggs for that; it was like a life-lesson thing. I'm still down with Soul Assassins.”


Thursday, December 15, 2011

One of the best blogs on the net

I recommend anyone who hasn't go and check out www.claaa7.blogspot.com He drops all sorts of rare out of print shit, is up on the latest dope artists, and has good write ups. He writes better than most people on the internet about hip hop and english isn't even his first language. I highly highly recommend his blog.


His new album is out. There's a livestream of it on youtube. Check it out. The Roots dropped a new album recently too, called Undun. It's really good from what I've heard. Some shit you could play around anyone regardless of whether they like hip hop, although probably not to the same extent as Wake Up.

Friday, November 18, 2011

God's Stepson

God's Son by Nas Remix album done by 9th Wonder

I used to listen to God's Son by Nas reguarly. I liked pretty much everything about it, had no complaints about the beats at all really. now, I listen to the remix version done by 9th Wonder almost without ever listening to the original incarnation.

I wish there was a mastered version, but it's good enough quality for me to have listened to it too many times to count.

I downloading it from the link I provided. The instrumentals are readily available as well.


One of the most underrated MCs who has dropped since 2000 I think. His first album, Body of the Life force, is truly a classic. DJ Premier blessed him with the production. There are various great songs such as Equality, D&D Soundclash, Mic Stance, and my personal favorite Whirlwind Thru Cities. The Morgan Freeman sample at the beginning of that is too dope.

I think he currently lives in Switzerland or somewhere similar. A shame, he is a great MC, I'd love to hear some new material from him.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Crime Albums

I haven't had time for in depth posts, but if you're looking for really good mafioso themed albums that have been released in the past few years, I highly recommend Only Built for Cuban Linx 2 by Raekwon, Marcberg by Roc Marciano, and Riches, Royalty and Respect by Kool G Rap (arguably greatest rapper of all time). All are great albums.