Interview Alchemist & Just Blaze
When you meet two producers who made their mark on rap production of the 2000's, you know it's about to be a great moment. Especially when these two are Just Blaze and The Alchemist. Some twenty minutes talking with them on rappers they both worked with and sampling are as interesting as frustrating : you know you are going to leave with some great stories, even if you'd hope you could have more.
Alchemist : Big Pun was a real character. He had these clothes which were custom made and taylor made for himself. What he had on was special. He had the all green Nikes, the all green leather pants to match, that was custom made for him. Everything about him was exaggerated. Besides the fact how cool he was, he was a spectacle, he was a real comedian 24 hours a fuckin' day.
Just Blaze : Yeah, that's right. There are some good people in this business, and he was definitely one of the first good people that I've met. And I'm not saying that because he's dead. I don't want to get into the whole story of it, but the first night that we ever met, I walked out his crib with 20.000 dollars of studio equipment. That's how I set up. He played a big fact in setting my first home studio. When we met, we talked about some things, he had a bunch of stuffs in the crib, and I was kind of giving him pointers of how to settle his home studio, and in return he said : "Take whatever you want" . And I'm like "What ?" . "Yeah, take whatever you want !" . Everything I could fit in my hands at once, I ran out with. We always had a good relationship off and straight to that, because I was a genuine dude who loved his music, and he was just all about trying to further of his career and take more of his career into his own hands. We were at different levels. We had a short-lived but dope relationship.
Big Punisher - Mama (2000, prod. Alchemist)
Big Punisher - Wrong Ones (2000, prod. Just Blaze)
Alc : The recording sessions of this album were great. I don't exactly remember the day Just came by with "Diamond", but definitely remember when something bad had happened to Just, either with his car or ... Something happened. I remember because he brought three beats to the studio, like "I made this three so I could feel better". And it was like three retarded beats. Bars & Hooks ended up using one of them later, some old shit. You remember that ?
Just : Yeah yeah yeah, I do !
Alc : I remember this because Just and I came up around the same time together in New York. Coincidentally, we lived next to each other too, downtown.
Just : I was bugging. Neither one of us knew that. We used to live like across the street !
Alc : We figured out that after a while ! But we were already respecting each other works. I can tell you about days when Just sat me down and gave me pointers on business shit, early. Because he was more on point about that than I was. I was all over the place.
Just : Luckily I had people on my team who kept me very focus on the business aspect of things. Because it's easy to get caught up in just making the music and not really thinking about hving all your T's crossed and your I's doted. I was definitely blessed to have that early.
Alc : It was around that time that he started link up with Jay and the ROC. But he could have hung around and tore up the Mobb world like I was. But it was written he went connecting with this camp.
Just : Yeah, 'cause I was connected real tough with Prodigy at one point. Pee used to come to my crib. This was before you even lived downed there. I think you were living in...
Alc : Bleecker Street, in the Village.
Just : Yeah, you were in the Village. And Pee was coming to my crib, and I showed him how to make beats. I was teaching him more about producing records because up until that point, his approach was more like "Hav' makes the beat, and I just come and do what I do". He wanted to explore the production role, so I was sitting down with him everyday he come by the house, cook diner, we would chop it up, listening to music or what not... And like Alc said, he ended up linkin with the Mobb, and I ended up with Jay. But it all went full circle, because me and Alc were getting real tight, me and Pee staid cool, Jay and Pee had their beef, you know what I mean ? It was all different types of weird intricacies in that story.
A : This beef never put your friendship at risks ?
Alc : Nah, never. We float over that shit as producers. I almost feel like we are more grown. Like when they're beefin they're like kids fightin' [Just laughs]. We are above that shit, as far as negativity and beef. If you notice, most producers respect each other. It's rare you have producers beef. We pretty much respect each others for what we're doing.
A : It's a different state of mind.
Alc : Yeah ! It's like, come on, if anything we'll use those rappers to compete. Like “Aight, you snatch him up, I snatch him up, let them diss each other, we'll just make beats underneath it." It doesn't even matter, we're just having fun with it, you know what I mean? I don't think it's ever that serious. I never act that way, never.
Prodigy - Diamond (2001, prod. Just Blaze)
Prodigy - Keep It Thoro (2001, prod. Alchemist)