2 May, 2011@2:00 am
Alchemist has always had a knack for bringing out the best in his collaborators; hell, he pretty much helped define careers of many indie rappers during the 12″ vinyl heyday. He’s always had his signature sound, altering it slightly to encompass a number of different styles from lyrical tour-de-force (Royce da 5’9′s “I’m The King”) to brooding gangster rap (Buc Fifty’s “Metal’s Advocate”) to paired down boom-bap (Prodigy’s “Keep It Thoro”) to kooky novelty record (Agallah’s “Crookie Monster”). In essence, Al has done it all and showed remarkable consistency over the years. With Curren$y’s Covert Coup, he takes on a new challenge – the smoker’s album.
Al’s beats have always had that laid-back, light-up feel, but never have we seen him produce an entire project in this style. Enter Curren$y, who may just be the perfect collaborator for this style of track. The theme for the EP is repeated ad nauseum, “you should be rolling up right now….locate your lighters…..”.
From the jump, the EP gets right into it, as Curren$y eases right into Al’s chilled out beat on “BBS”. This vibe is carried throughout the entire EP, as Al subtly weaves in classic samples like Lyn Collins “Think About It” on “Blood Sweat and Gears”, or Biz Markie saying “fonky!” on “Success is My Cologne”. The production here is chopped, layered, hollowed out, and hypnotic, presenting some of the best beats found in Alchemist’s catalog to date.
Curren$y has never been put in the super-lyrical category, but his super-mellow delivery meshes with Al’s production perfectly. A number of guest artists also join in, some stealing the spotlight in places. Fellow former No Limit soldier Fiend sounds extra cool on “Blood Swear And Gears”, while Freddie Gibbs absolutely destroys “Scottie Pippens” with an extra-long verse, Cappadonna “Winter Warz” style.
Covert Coup is without a doubt a smoker’s album, but the non-blessed can feel it too. Initially, this critic made the mistake of listening to this album for the first time during a cross-training workout. But like some good weed, it doesn’t hit you until the second or third listen. Then you really feel it….. As an ex-smoker, this EP brings back a feeling provided by only the finest cannabis, no pipe or rolling papers required.
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