Interview The Alchemist
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A: Is there someone that you were trying to get on the album but didn’t make it happen because of time schedule or whatever?
Al: Not really but I guess on that note, Jay Electronica was supposed to be on the joint.
A: I think that Jay Electronica is the best thing in hip hop right now.
Al:Oh yeah! I would have to agree with you. He’s the shit. He’s beyond rap. He’s just like a spirit. That’s the dude that people need to look towards.
A: What’s crazy about him is that he doesn’t need to drop a song every week like other rappers do and his buzz keeps increasing.
Al: Because he’s that DUDE man! He’s real. I’m telling you: what he represents is beyond rap. I wouldn’t even call him a rapper. Jay Electronica. You got somebody special. He just happens to rap. We are lucky when he raps. You just gotta be happy when he gives us a song.
A: What do you think of the song 'Exhibit A (Transformations)'?
Al: It’s my favorite song out. It still is since it’s been out. I love that song. It just puts me in a zone. I love it so much that when they did the final version, the one Just Blaze mixed, I love it, but I like the older version better.
Al: Yeah because I’m so used to the original version. It’s so raw. It’s clear that the other one is more produced but that’s whatever. That’s what happens sometimes when songs get leaked, you get stuck to the original.
A: Did you have the opportunity to work with him after your album was done?
Al: We’ve been chopping it up. He came through but I realized that he didn’t want to record something immediately. He’s a special person and if we gonna work, it’s gonna happen naturally. That’s the dude! I’m glad to know him.
A: Another collaboration that sounds interesting is the one with Oh No. What are your plans for Gangrene?
Al: We are probably going to drop the album soon. We are trying to build it up a little bit more. The album is done. We are still working but it’s crazy. This is something that I think people will really like. It’s something different that keeps your attention.
A: Is it going to be a "Madvillainy" type of album where you gonna rhyme over some of his beats and vice versa?
Al: Yes! It has no rules. It’s not like “You gonna have to rap on mines and I’m gonna rap on yours.” It’s free. It’s like a group project. Gangrene! Sick shit! Guilty Simpson, Evidence, Big Twins, Roc C and Medaphoar are all on the album. We collaborate with both of our friends on both sides then you have Gangrene.
A: This collaboration with Oh No is kinda surprising to me. I could have seen you doing this type of project with a member from Dilated Peoples and all that but Oh No doesn’t seem to be like the immediate family if I can say so.
Al: I think that’s inspired by like…when you study the history of music, you got Jazz records where Earl Klugh hooked up with Bob James and they did a record in London for two months. They just did one collaborative album. It’s different artist who respect each other and work on music with each other and that’s dope! It ends up opening doors for creativity. I’m bored of the same old shit. I’m a fan and I get bored so I know what it takes to keep people interested. That’ll be interesting to me. The current state of hip hop is whatever I want to make it. That’s how I look at it.
A: Speaking about collaborations, I’d like to see you work with Roc Marciano.
Al: He’s dope! Always been underrated. It’s crazy that you mention him because I was thinking about working wlith him. That would be somebody dope to work with!
I just talked to Sean Price too and we are going to work together. He’s one of my favorites also. We haven’t work really yet so we’re about to do something. That guy is crazy.
A: You’re also working on The Stepbrothers project with Evidence and a few tracks have already leaked.
Al: Yeah man, we just try to keep the buzz going. That’s the only way to get some attention for a group.
A: Do you think like being in a comfort zone with Evidence because of your friendship?
Al: For sure! It’s my man. I don’t even have to think. It’s not even a thought. It’s like me doing a beat for me.
A: I’m done with my questions. Is there anything you would like to add?
Al: Just something really out of the blue and unordinary like: "Buy "Chemical Warfare", in stores now!" [laughs] No, that’s it man. Good looking out Paris and Europe in general. That’s like a huge fan base for somebody like me. It’s not like it used to be when you would make music before the Internet, you would only think about the States and you wouldn’t even think about overseas when you were making the music. I think about my fans overseas. I know they gonna appreciate shit so I consider it when I’m making music. I thought about it when I made this album. I bet you the people in France are going to love “Chemical Warfare” because it got that dark sound like “Hell On Earth”. I’ve always noticed how France in general took “Hell On Earth”. They love that dark sound because when you go to Paris, you see it! Sometimes it’s dark, the weather, the way the architecture is; it matches the city. There’s a lot of struggle out there and that darkness matches that sound.
A: Yeah people over here are still trying to re-create that “Hell On Earth” sound til this day!
Al: (laughs) I know, I’ve heard a lot of knock off but it’s dope to see how people connected to that sound. It’s dark and gritty and I get it now.
Hell On Earth
Politics as usual
Alchemist & Just Blaze