On the New York set of the video for his lead single, “Smile,” from his upcoming album, Chemical Warfare, The Alchemist spoke to XXLMag.com about his group of high-profile collaborations in the works.

For one, in addition to Twista, “Smile” features an appearance from legendarily reclusive soul singer Maxwell. “I definitely feel like it was special and was meant to be because I don’t always collaborate with R&B artists,” ALC said of hooking up with Max. “If we just wanted him for a song and didn’t know him, it wouldn’t have happened. It was just circumstances of life that led us to do this record. I feel like super lucky, where every time I see Max, I overly thank him. He’s like, ‘We good! Your shit is dope.’”

The collaboration was the result of encounters between the two on the NY club scene, resulting in only the second feature from Maxwell in the past decade or so—the only other coming on the 2004 Nas song “No On Else In The Room. “From going out and just living in New York, there’s a couple of friends of mine downtown who do parties—DJ Jus Ske and my man, Richie Akiva—who were also friends with Max,” detailed Alc. “A couple nights when I was out with them, he was there, too. We chopped it up and realized there’s a mutual respect and after a couple more times of seeing him, decided to do something.”

Boasting a wide range of guests, Chemical Warfare will also feature KRS-One, Kool G Rap, Jadakiss, Snoop Dogg, Crooked I, Talib Kweli, Juvenile, Three 6 Mafia, Dilated Peoples, Tha Dogg Pound, and Lady of Rage. “I try to level it out as far as working with artists from different regions,” The Alchemist said.

Next on the producer’s plate will be an effort from Gangrene, the duo comprised of ALC and Cali rapper-producer Oh No. “We go two videos shot and the album done,” he shared. “I’d like to say Gangrene will follow my album in August.”

The project with longtime friend, Dilated Peoples MC, Evidence, will also follow, but not until the “top of next year.” “With Ev, he knows me so well that he’s more selective,” said Alc. “He’ll go through my beats like going through a sock drawer because he can. We sometimes take longer to work but I believe in that project a lot. Me and him work daily so it’s in the pipeline.”

Chemical Warfare hits stores on June 2. - Devin Chanda

Peep these exclusive photos from the "Smile" video shoot by Thomas Stigler