02. ALC Theme Ft. Kool G Rap
03. Lose Your Life Ft. Snoop Dogg, Pusha T And Jadakiss
04. Chemical Warfare Ft. Eminem
05. Grand Concourse Benches Ft. Krs-One
06. Therapy Ft. Evidence, Blu, Talib Kweli And Kid Cudi
07. That’ll Work Ft. Three 6 Mafia And Juvenile
08. Smile Ft. Maxwell And Twista
09. Keep The Heels On Ft. Prodigy
10. Acts Of Violence Ft. Gangrene (Ohno And Alchemist)
11. Lights, Cameras, Action Ft. Lil’ Fame
12. Some Gangster Shit Ft. Fabolous
13. On Sight Ft. Dogg Pound And La
14. Take A Look Back
15. Under Siege (Bonus)
Alchemist’s first album featured top notch collaborations, including the massive single “Hold Me Down (feat. Prodigy and Nina Sky)”. It also did not feature him rapping much, if at all. Both of these are good things. Does he manage to repeat his prior success in both areas on his new album? Well, 1 out of 2 ain’t bad…
During the other night’s Mets game, the announcers suggested that one of the team’s pitchers had gotten so used to watching some of his fellow starters routinely make difficult defensive plays routine, that he may have overestimated his own defensive skills. I thought the point was interesting, and that was that… until it came roaring back to me as I listened to Chemical Warfare, the second full length album by veteran producer (and Eminem tour DJ) Alchemist. Hip-hop is littered with examples of producers and DJs who have decided to step in front of the mic and try their hand at rhyming. While there are exceptions (Kanye West, Dr. Dre), more often than not producers rap game can’t come close to their track game (or in some cases, their business game)—(Jermaine Dupri, Diddy, Swizz Beatz, etc.). Maybe, just like a delusional Met, these behind the scene powerhouses spend so much time watching talented rappers effortlessly drop jewels, that they become convinced that anyone can do it.
Unfortunately, Alchemist’s misestimation of his own skills weighs down Chemical Warfare, as most of the tracks where he raps, including “ALC Theme,” “Acts of Violence,” “Take a Look Back” and “Under Siege” are the album’s worst. While his lyrical content isn’t completely horrible, he uses simple rhyme structures and his flow bares a strong resemblance to Linkin Park/Fort Minor’s Mike Shinoda (alright for a rock star, not so good for a rapper). While decent verses by West Coast rapper Oh No almost manage to salvage “Violence” and “Siege,” “ALC Theme,” with its irritating spelling motif is a mess that even the legendary Kool G Rap cannot save.
Alchemist’s rapping aside, Chemical Warfare is an enjoyable listen and features a strong roster of mcs, combining some artists currently in heavy rotation with missing-in-action stars who are heard from all too infrequently. “That’ll Work,” features forgotten Southern stars Three 6 Mafia and Juvenile, who sound surprisingly comfortable over a non-Dirty South beat. The West Coast also gets some love, as “On Sight” reunites Death Row survivors Dogg Pound and Lady of Rage over a hard-hitting track.
Overall Score: 6.5/10
Also, via XL Mag.com
Following the same format as 2004’s 1st Infantry, Alchemist recruits a capable lineup of rappers for his new disc, Chemical Warfare. With the usual suspects, like Prodigy and Jadakiss, still in tow, this go-round, the Beverly Hills–bred producer offers several unexpected collaborations, and surprise attacks as well.
It isn’t every day that you hear Three 6 Mafia and Juvenile over an Alc beat, but on “That’ll Work,” the producer’s bouncy take on crunk wins. Juve steals the show with a fast-paced flow, while Juicy J chooses his usual stop-and-go rhyme pattern on the standout track. Another remarkable pairing comes from Maxwell and Twista, who, respectively, provide a soulful hook and awe-inspiring verses on the slow-paced hip-hop love fest “Smile.” Hardcore fans need not worry, though, as Eminem links with Al and gets down and dirty on the album’s title track, offering to “eat the fuckin’ Octomom’s pussy lips with some okra/While I watch Whoopi Goldberg scissoring Oprah.”
Not all the artists have as much chemistry, however. The bass-farting “On Sight,” which links Lady of Rage and Tha Dogg Pound, only seems to fulfill the West Coast quota, and Prodigy’s sex talk over Al’s pulsating drums on “Keep the Heels On” just sounds creepy. Still, in all, Chemical Warfare proves that Alchemist keeps an arsenal of WMDs just in case shit jumps off.
Overall Score: L/XXL