Fresh on the heels of the excellent Jammin’ 30: In The Mornin’ mixtape, today Detroit holdout Boldy James announces My 1st Chemistry Set, his first long-player and fully collaborative project with LA super-producer The Alchemist, due October 15th on Decon, the label heavily involved in newly relaunched media hub Mass Appeal. Here Boldy delivers verses composed of lyrics that bear the luster of cinder blocks but that are similarly hefty- Boldy isn’t one to flex his vocabulary or quick tongue, instead instilling weight by dead-ending each stark stanza, punctuating them with a stop-and-go cadence that doubles back on syllables only when it makes sense, never for it’s own sake. What appears to be a simple line about his economically-challenged surroundings or making and selling crack takes new life in double-entendre, and the concept of chemistry does the same as he matches wits with Alchemist, compounding the meaning of the moniker.
That lack of excess characterizes Boldy’s lyrical style and content (this is not music about having wealth but rather what one man is willing to do to achieve it), and it’s cross-applicable to Alchemists spare, steely beats. The LA producer’s catalog boasts placements with the biggest rappers in the world (Rick Ross, Eminem, Nas, Snoop Dogg, too many others to count) as well as a laundry list of the most bubbling rapper’s currently (Domo Genesis, Action Bronson, Freddie Gibbs, Curren$y), not to mention his grimy, tag-team partnership with Oh No as Gangrene. You’d be hard-pressed to find a producer who does as much with so little- Alchemist’s ability to pluck the most menacing notes from dusty vinyl and turn them into street anthems and gold hits has allowed him to live up to his title while pushing the art of sampling into the present. On M1CS he thrives on forgotten ’80s synth lines as well as epic string arrangements and raw drums, the product the two deliver here is one born of utilitarian precision.
It’s lightning in a bottle with these two cooks in the kitchen, and fans of murder music across the country will get to experience the chemistry this fall as both Boldy and Al join the legendary Mobb Deep on a string of US tour dates for the group’s twenty-year reunion this fall.
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