14 November, 2013@2:30 pm
Detroit’s Boldy James has been a relative unknown on the scene, but has popped up in various places over the last year or so, such as on the ill-fated Dilla release, Rebirth Of Detroit, and his Grand Quarters EP via Decon. But he makes his official debut on My First Chemistry Set – an album title that takes on many different meanings, most obviously that it’s produced entirely by The Alchemist.
Once you hear the LP, Alchemist’s team up with Boldy is a natural fit, as his style is very similar to another of Al’s collaborators, Prodigy of Mobb Deep. Boldy’s delivery is laid back, yet chilling, like that of P, and he shares a similar knack for crafting dark narratives of drug-sales and bullet scars. Naturally Al’s production is perfect for this kind of thing, and the sound here plays like a spiritual sequel to the Albert Einstein LP.
Even on a lower profile release like this, Alchemist never fails to impress with his production. He doesn’t hold back here, nor can he be called guilty for saving his best beats for bigger or more popular artists. There are beats on this LP that, even in this stage in the game, when many of us have heard over 100 beats from Al, will simply make you say “God Damn!”.
Songs like “Consideration” or “Moochie” are uncompromisingly dark and moody, with just enough weirdness to them to deliver a bittersweet, unsettling feeling. “You Know” and “Give Me A Reason” are so hypnotically smooth that they almost grab you by the head and force it nod, as Boldy tells the story. Other standout moments include the Action Bronson featured “Traction” and murder music anthem, “Surprise Party”, with Freeway and King Chip.
However Al is really the one in the driver’s seat here, as Boldy truthfully plays second fiddle. While he is a capable emcee and does a decent job of recounting the ill street blues, this album is far more about the production than the lyrics. Just as Eminem almost makes the production an afterthought on The Marshall Mathers LP 2, the opposite is true here, as Alchemist steals the show on the beats.
Al’s been creating a pretty amazing legacy over the past decade or so, and following Albert Einstein, he’s created yet another ridiculously solid LP with My First Chemistry Set. While the jury may still be out on Boldy James, Alchemist carries this album effortlessly with some of the best production in the biz.
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