15 Of The Best Alchemist Beats
The Alchemist is a known staple of hip-hop. Alc is closely affiliated with Dilated Peoples and Mobb Deep, but his connections run deeper than that. Throughout his 20-year career, the Los Angeles producer has gone on to get placements with hip-hop heavyweights like Lil Wayne, Nas and Cam’ron. Considered one of the greatest to ever touch the boards, Alc is still keeping himself busy with new projects by Evidence and Boldy James.
XXL wanted to revisit some of Alchemist’s best beats. Why? Because Alc’s output has never faltered. Combing through years of his production, you would be hard-pressed to find one that didn’t pique your ears. So, as we enter the gritty styling of Alc, here are 15 of his classics to nod your head to. --Eric Diep And Dan Jackson
"Book Of Rhymes" Nas
Album: God's Son (2002)
This is one of many Nas’ memorable tracks. Alc laces up a glitzy sample layered with some rumbling bass for the Queensbridge rapper to spit old verses written years ago. Fresh.
"Win Or Lose" Mobb Deep
Album: Amerikaz Nightmare (2004)
Alc’s known for digging in the crates for a few rare samples. Flipping “Win Or Lose” as a motivational anthem, Mobb Deep do what they do best. Losing ain’t an option, and they aiming for top of the world.
"Wet Wipes" Cam’ron
Album: Killa Season (2006)
Killa Cam always flourishes on robust production. Cam jumps on Alc’s amped up backdrop and floats all over it.
"The Symbol" Action Bronson
Album: Rare Chandeliers (2012)
Action Bronson’s paired with a number of dope beatmakers in the past (Tommy Mas, Statik Selektah, Party Supplies), so his work with Alchemist on Rare Chandeliers is warranted. Alc’s western-style instrumental fits perfectly with Bronson’s complex rhymes.
Album: Slaughterhouse (2009)
Bars on top of bars. Slaughterhouse murders Alc’s dark instrumentation that showcases they’re a force to be reckoned with.
"Flash Gordon" Roc Marciano
Album: Reloaded (2012)
Roc Marciano’s flow sounds right at home on this dusky, atmospheric cut. It's both eerie and a little comforting, probably because of the well-placed Quincy Jones sample
"Genesis Of The Omega" Sean Price
Album: Mic Tyson (2012)
“Genesis Of The Omega” samples Ananta’s "Wheel Of Time," which gets an interesting flip for Sean Price’s war cry intro off Mic Tyson.
"You Ain’t Got Nothing On Me" Lil Wayne
Album: Tha Carter 3 (2008)
What it look like Alc? Fab, Juelz and Wayne do their thing on the hidden gem off Tha Carter 3.
"Stuck On You" Prodigy
Album: Return Of The Mac (2007)
Prodigy ditches the tough-talking raps for something that touches the ladies. Don’t be surprised if “Stuck On You” stays on repeat.
"Surgical Gloves" Raekwon
Album: Only Built 4 Cuban Linx... Pt. II (2009)
Alchemist has an ear for eccentric'70s samples, so for this track off Raekwon's highly anticipated sequel, he grabbed a track from Styxx's 1977 record The Grand Illusion. And surprise, surprise: It fits like a (surgical) glove.
"We Gonna Make It" Jadakiss
Album: Kiss Tha Game Goodbye (2007)
This horn and string filled beat finds Alchemist adapting to the opulent style of the era, creating a track that hits hard while still sounding like a million bucks. It also has one of Jadakiss's best boasts: "I learned the game quickly, and I don't like to rent/So when I fly now, I bring my cars on the plane with me."
"Third Degree" Diolated Peoples
Album: Non-Album Single (1997)
This super, super early cut shows how much of Alchemist's approach was already established in the beginning. He really hit the ground running.
"A Gangster And A Gentleman" Styles P
Album: A Gangster And A Gentleman (2002)
Grabbing a sample from Swedish multi-instrumentalist Bo Hansson, Alchemist crafts an epic and cinematic beat for Style to deliver some tough-talking ruminations over. The drums on the chorus really make it.
"The Type" Curren$y
Lately, the Alchemist has been working with artists for one-off projects—Action Bronson's Rare Chandeliers and Prodigy's Albert Einstein are two notable examples&dmash;but 2011 EP-length collaboration with Curren$y might be the best one. This hazy, smoked-out track shows just how potent the combination was.
"The Legacy" Cormega
Album: The True Meaning
"In retrospect, when I hear it, it’s one of my favorite joints that I did with him," Alchemist said about this track in an interview back in 2012, and it's easy to see why. Packed with hyper-local references about life in Queens, Cormega's verses are the perfect fit for the Alchemist's laid-back beat.