Ram Jams: ‘This Thing of Ours’

The Alchemist keeps it clean and concise on his latest feature-filled release

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The Alchemist’s latest album provides a platform for the best rappers in hip hop.

By MATEO SOLIS PRADA

Genre: Rap

On a Playlist With: Griselda, Freddie Gibbs, Action Bronson 

Does he ever sleep? A little over a month since the release of his last project, The Alchemist is back, this time with a signature eight-track album consisting of four songs and complementary instrumental versions. The announcement of this project came on April 12 when The Alchemist, along with the suspected features, posted the same image on their Instagrams with the simple caption “4/30.”

 

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A week before the full release of “This Thing of Ours,” fans received a tracklist including features and the single, “Nobles,” with Earl Sweatshirt and Navy Blue. The other songs would be, in order, “TV Dinners” featuring Sideshow and Boldy James, “Holy Hell” featuring Maxo and Pink Siifu, and “Loose Change” featuring Earl Sweatshirt. The Alchemist keeps this one concise. The project, excluding the instrumental tracks, comes in at just 10 minutes, and each one takes on a completely different tone.

Let’s begin with the single. “Nobles” starts the album off on a powerful note. Here, Earl and Navy look back on their successes thus far, grateful for their triumphs and even their struggles. Navy raps, “Hard work, callous the palm, that isn’t wrong, soul battered and grown, sadness is gone.” The song interpolates dialogue from “The Neverending Story,” furthering the tone and making it seem nostalgic, like a single happy tear crawling its way down your cheek.

Next is “TV Dinners.” Last year, Boldly James and The Alchemist came together to make “The Price of Tea in China,” and my biggest complaint from that project was the production, which sat too still for my taste. However, this beat is vibrant, unlike anything that was on their previous collaboration. The saxophone sample and ambient noises make it sound like the perfect track to put on as you trudge through the streets on a cloudy day. Sideshow opens, making lots of references to missing his friends who have been locked in jail and awaiting their return home. Boldly comes in calm and delivers a heavily coded verse, detailing his hard work both in crime and as a rapper. The verses are separated by a sample from “The Sopranos,” where Tony assures Dr. Melfi that “Soldiers don’t go to Hell, it’s war, soldiers, they kill other soldiers.” Fitting when considering Boldy’s previous life as a drug dealer in Detroit.

The album then hits a slow note. “Holy Hell” is a somber track with a disorienting beat. It’s the perfect background for Maxo and Pink Siifu to share their experiences with anxiety and stress. Pink Siifu raps, “Dragging my feet, hell on my back, folks stare on my head, stress stay on my back, need a few pretty ’Lacs.” Overall, the tone reflects their anger about their hardships and struggles, opposing the sentiment shared by Earl and Navy just two tracks earlier.

And just like that, we arrive at the last track, “Loose Change.” If you would have told me the song was off of The Alchemist’s 2019 album “Yacht Life 2,” I’d believe you without any doubt. It’s upbeat production-wise, with luxurious sounding horns and bright drums. Accompanying the fancy-sounding production, Earl delivers a smooth verse with his typical dense rhyming schemes about not having time for things he doesn’t want to do anymore.

I am personally a big fan of the project. In only 10 minutes, The Alchemist takes you on a star-studded journey with some of the best rappers on this side of the hip-hop scene. They do what they do best; The Alchemist just provides the platform and beats. 

The Bottom Line: It’s 10 minutes — if you really don’t like it, not much was lost.

The Peaks: All of them

The Valleys: No room for valleys

The Verdict: 9/10