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Album Review: Durag Dynasty, 360 Waves

Over the past several years, The Alchemist’s California home has become affectionately referred to as “rap camp” by one of your favorite rappers. The Beverly Hills-born producer has already solidified his reputation as one of the most prolific and mobile artists the genre has to offer, and as evidenced by the wide range of artists Alc has worked with over the past few years, his in-home studio seems to be a breeding ground for high-quality music. He’s brought together artists from all corners of the rap community (see: No Idols with Domo Genesis, Rare Chandeliers with Action Bronson and Covert Coup alongside Curren$y).

When Alchemist announced the formation of West Coast supergroup Durag Dynasty, comprised of local mixtape legend Planet Asia, Killer Ben and Tristate, the information could have easily been lost by fans in the pile of highly anticipated projects that the producer has slated for 2013. An ingenius promotional campaign that featured photoshopped Durags on the likes of Pat Riley and Barack Obama remedied that by turning heads and letting fans know what this album is about. 360 Waves is an exercise in blasé gangsterism and pure rap prowess, the likes of which are rare in rap today, and if the music isn’t enough, the image of the long-lost durag steez on an aging Kareem Abdul-Jabbar drives the point home nicely.

Alchemist’s sound is often a difficult one to pin down; it’s constantly evolving yet you know it when you hear it. There are moments on 360 Waves where he finds a sweet spot between Chemical Warfare-Alc and Russian Roulette-Alc. The result is just poppy enough, with plenty of grime and weirdness to spare. At it’s highest moments, 360 Waves finds itself in a zone that in many ways feels like a 21st century Enter the Wu-Tang. The sample-driven but singular sound could easily be compared in form to that of the RZA and the wealth of voices featured on the album reach a high level of potency on more than one occasion, with the power trio as their centerpiece.

Aside from the single, “DRDC Theme”, highlights include the two “Yasir Arafat” tracks, “Trailer Mix”, which features 6 Phil The Agony, and the Big Twinz-assisted, “Bigger U Are The Harder They Fall”, where Alan blesses the track with a verse of his own. The bars are up to par across the board, and 360 Waves provides an adequate platform for some of the most talented, under hyped rappers in the game to shine.

This album won’t serve as the catalyst for a return to grimy, vinyl-crackle-laden rap music in the mainstream, but it certainly serves as a nice diversion for wishful fans. It’s not a full-blown indictment of the mainstream—it’s too much fun to be considered that—but the album doesn’t pull any punches: “You’re outta space, Lord/Whole shit looking shoddy/You’re just a poser on a skateboard tryna Ollie.” Like anything Alc puts his hands on, this project is definitely worth a listen, and builds anticipation for whatever might come next from this camp.

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  • a

    2XL’s and 1L and you are giving it L? :D You niggas retarded

    • wat

      When will you guys learn that those individual specific ratings don’t add up to the OVERALL rating? It’s not that hard, bro.

  • carAnthony

    Just L for the Lyrick?! This is definitely the best release so far in 2013 n u guys go just with L for lyrics. That’s really terrible… One of the best lyrics albums for years.

    • Nick de Molina

      You’re right–there was a miscommunication with my editor. It was supposed to be and XL for lyrics, and L for beats. Fixing that now.

  • bvcxbcb

    This album is an XL, this guy is bullshitting with the review

  • http://twitter.com/kingauthor83 Mr. Know it All

    Saying the following “local mixtape legend Planet Asia, Killer Ben and Tristate” shows whoever reviewed this did no research. Good thing I don’t listen to reviews cause I would have missed out on great albums.

  • UZI

    this album is an XL. u can’t give the beats or the lyrics anything less. if you do you’re fucking up hip-hop.

  • InfiniteFlows

    In ALL of the XXL reviews…The top 2 of the 3 higher ranks result in the same overall rating. So if you get XLs in two of the three categories, the overall rating is also an XL. So Durag Dynasty should be an overall XL…whether the lyrics and beats ratings were miscommunicated or not…GET IT RIGHT YALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • ZoraG

    As usual another contradicting review. “360 Waves finds itself in a zone that in many ways feels like a 21st century Enter the Wu-Tang” well if you’re referring to the 36 Chambers then this album is clearly a XXL because that album was a groundbreaking classic. Listening to 360 Waves gave me goose bumps, the production and lyrics are definitely a XXL. This is the content and substance that our culture needs, what we can use less of would be writers and editors of this caliber. #FAILonYourRating Durag Dynasty has delivered an album of the year nominee.