The Alchemist: Rapper’s Best Friend: an Instrumental SeriesMay 15, 2007 at 3:12 am | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment
-by Charles “CZA” Sweet II
Instrumental albums are always hit-or-miss because it is most definitely a niche item. Constructed of a particular producer’s beats from various artists, (Sometimes even various genres!) it’s never truly defined as to whom it’s catered to. They also from over saturation due to mixtape usage and DJ blends. Alchemist hopes to do away with all the confusion by letting you know exactly who this is for; the rappers.
Rapper’s Best Friend: an Instrumental Series is chock full of familiar bangers and eclectic cuts that you’ve heard before—but that’s not all for he has also included unreleased tracks especially for this episode. “G-Type” has a nod-pause-nod rhythm given by the poignant kicks and almost concrete sounding slaps. The bass line here is the prevalent factor though, it moves the track along with a style that’s decidedly gangster. “Guns is razors” has an opening worthy of Spartacus with its soaring horns and choir inspired strings that fall away to reveal a sparse but inspirational march. The track itself is hot, but what really makes it stand out is how everything in the background almost has a life of its own. Syncopated snares seem to roll and drop, rise and fall all within the confines of the kick.
The true test (or so one might think) of any instrumental album is this: when someone listens to it, can they separate the track away from whoever made it a song? Can they appreciate the music for just that—music? Rapper’s Best Friend: an Instrumental Series is a split decision on that one because tracks like “Back Again” and “Bring You Light” scream Dilated Peoples and Snoop Dogg respectively. It’s near impossible to see anything other than what you’ve already heard because it came out so well. Another issue is the inevitable “Rapper X would’ve KILLED this beat!” syndrome that one is likely to develop after hearing tracks like “Tight”. I personally imagined Nas on the beat doing his business to the utmost. “Still Feel Me” is another that I could’ve easily seen an artist like Carl Thomas crooning just as easily as anyone else.
Instrumental albums can be a thing of beauty but they have to be material that no one’s heard and even better, no one’s used. Alchemist has made it so that there is no mistaking to whom this product is intended for, but outside of someone who intends to use it for a hip hop project, it’s not the greatest expenditure of money. Through and through this is a collector’s item more than anything else.