The Alchemist, “Flight Confirmation” featuring Danny Brown & Schoolboy Q

Blake Gillespie

The Alchemist

As strange as it is to say, I've not been very enthusiastic about The Alchemist's direction since he first broke into the scene producing for Dilated Peoples, Defari, Mobb Deep, and Cormega. He arrived at a time when hip hop needed him most; producing for MCs with a companding voice (Evidence and Defari), but needed a equally commanding beat to mask their lack of content, producing for underrated poets living in the shadow of their neighborhood icons (Cormega) and revitalizing the careers with grimey production in a bling bling era.

As the 2000s progressed, The Alchemist production credit became a credibility stamp to lackluster records as the careers of Dilated Peoples, Mobb Deep (and Prodigy solo records), Eminem, Swollen Members and Royce the 5'9″ lagged on. But with a new vanguard carrying hip hop into weirder and more stoned out terrain, The Alchemist seems inspired by the shift in sound. His work with Curren$y, Hodgy Beats, Oh No (as Gangrene), and Freddie Gibbs was the beginning of a rejuvenated sound; making the debut of “Flight Confirmation” the perfect storm, rather than the quiet storm of yore.

Cacophonously bugged out and psychedelic, “Flight Confirmation” sounds as though it were designed with Danny Brown and Schoolboy Q in mind. As the beat tumbles in and Danny Brown delivers his signature “CHECK”, it's understood that a frightening noise is about to burst wide open.

The Alchemist's Russian Roulette drops July 17 on Decon.

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