The Alchemist: The Main Ingredients

Alchemist has been crafting recipes for his first cookbook since his debut, 1st Infantry, was released in 2004. A producer known for his cinematic, yet rugged production style that is California bred but embedded with East Coast DNA, The Alchemist’s Cookbook EP, just released on iTunes, is the crème de la crème of Al’s forthcoming […]

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has been crafting recipes for his first cookbook since his debut, 1st Infantry, was released in 2004. A

producer known for his cinematic, yet rugged production style that is

California bred but embedded with East Coast DNA, The Alchemist’s Cookbook EP, just

released on iTunes, is the crème de la crème of Al’s forthcoming album.


“It was

like chopping the best pieces off the Chemical

Warfare album, the chemical spillover of my next project,” speaks Alchemist

on his latest EP release. With clout that boasts production credits on

certified Hip-Hop classics by the likes of Mobb Deep,

Royce Da 5’9, and Dilated Peoples, the low-key

producer has been in the lab experimenting with these newly formed weapons of

mass destruction.


“It was

hard to hold on to these records, I got a Three 6 Mafia and Juvenile record

that is absolutely crazy. I can’t even sit on it anymore,

it’s burning holes in my pocket. That’s what happened with the Jada (“From Now to Then”) record, I had it for so long,

that it had to come out,” reveals the Beverly Hills native.  Recently coming off the “Still High”

tour with Method Man and Redman and “Step Brother” Evidence, his main priority

has been creating awareness for the album. Alchemist’s exuberance toward his

new project and current label are like the pillars that manifest his importance

in keeping what’s left of Hip-Hop music’s integrity.



label like Koch has had much success but they do things in typical fashion. I

like to think outside of the box and I feel like I’m one of the few artists on

Koch who’s going to bring something you wouldn’t expect from them. Not to

disrespect Koch or anybody; they give me my full

creative space“, says Alchemist.


Set to

drop in the first quarter of 09’, Al’s Chemical

Warfare, is stocked with material worthy  of merit, consisting of

collaborations Hip-Hop heads only dream about. With more hits under his belt than  Sammy “The Bull” Gravano,

Alchemist breaks down the science behind some of his most ingenious records.

Before we get into the classics, you assembled Evidence, Blu,

and Kid Cudi on “Therapy” off The Cookbook , three artists with

contrasting styles and unique sounds, What inspired you to put these guys




Kweli was also on the record, but there was some problems at the last minute. It was one of those

late nights in the studio. Ev

was passed out on the couch and I just stumbled on to this sample and started

chopping it, adding s**t to it, really just bugging out. I turned the lights

real low in the studio and just went into another f**king zone with the beat.


Ev woke

up later and just started writing to it. He came with the idea of “therapy”

because we kind of like therapists with this music. And he was the one who put

me on to Blu, who we’ve been working with

lately.  I just knew he would sound

perfect on the beat. Also Kid Cudi came to my studio

and just laid a couple hooks for me, and I never seen anybody record their

hooks so perfectly and his doubles, techniques were blowing me away. He’s on

his way to becoming the next Akon, Nate Dogg, etc. He did a hook on my album and I think Fabolous is going to rock on it.



Royce Da

5’9’s “I’m Da King” “I’m Da King” has been

hailed as one Royce’s greatest songs of all time. What was your inspiration

behind this beat?


Alchemist: I just

stole the beat from RA The Rugged Man, [laughs] RA put out a record a few years

ago saying  that

I  stole the “I’m Da King” beat from him, but I don’t know man, RA sniffs a

lot of glue,  so pardon him for the

Elmers mishaps.[laughs] Nah, there was a beat that he

had that sounded similar , so he thought I bit it from him. But I was on the

keyboards for that track so there’s no way I could have bit it.



remember that day I was at D&D Studios and Royce was in town, and I had a

bunch of new beats on deck. Royce just came through to the studio, he’s always

real confident in the lab. I mean he falls off the tree of Slim Shady. So when

he’s in the booth, he knows what he wants to do right away. As far as the

concept of the song, there isn’t a lot of interaction and throwing ideas back

and forth. He came with the hook, and he’s one  of the few lyricists that I’m

glad to say that I was able to be part of their careers in the early




with Saigon, I was one of the first people to lace him with a beat when he came

out of jail, so I took it a little personal when I didn’t get to lay any beats

for his album when he got with Just Blaze.  It’s all good though but at the same time, I took a mental




Pharoahe Monch

“No Mercy” You worked early on Pharoahe

Monch’s solo career on his debut, Internal Affairs, you

produced the track “ No Mercy” that also features MOP. Were you all in the

studio for this one?


Alchemist: I

straight rallied with Pharoahe. Really I was on his

back about making this album. Growing up, Pharoahe

was definitely one of my top three favorite MCs. So at the time he was down

with Rawkus, and I was still coming up. I just

remember him coming to my crib, and I was just playing all these beats and he

liked this one in particular. But I told him Prodigy was already writing to it

for his HNIC album,

and he said, “I don’t wanna hear anymore beats,

that’s the only one I want“. So I called P, and told him Pharoahe

really wanted it and he was just like, “Aight, do

your thing.” I mean, he didn’t really care about it like I did.  It’s a weird ass sample that I just found

off some soundtrack and it was one of the last songs he did for the album.  Also, it was my first time working with

MOP and, Lil’ Fame is also one my favorite MCs.



Prodigy “Keep It Thoro”
 How did you capture the grittiness of Queensbridge so perfectly on “Keep It Thoro”

by your boy Prodigy?


Alchemist: I was

actually in LA on vacation, staying at my mom and dad’s crib and I brought my

ASR with me. It was like carrying a f**kin’ body with

you, I think I’m still lop-sided from carrying the ASR around. I just set up

shop in some small ass room in their crib, and there was a bunch of left over

records sitting in the garage from when I used to live there. I just set up a

makeshift turntable setup with an old boom box that was there. That sample just

happened to be one of the few records left over, and the drums are from an old

school Hip-Hop classic that I don’t want to blow up. [laughs]

But it was the only drums that I had, I didn’t even

have my drum samples with me.


When I

went back to New York, I played it for Prodigy and he wanted to use it right

away, actually I think I played it for MOP too, but Fame might tell you better.

Then we actually went back to LA for an award show or something, and P felt

like he couldn’t wait and booked some studio time. P had a cold that day too,

that’s why he sounds so nasal, but it just sounded so dope. It’s all about imagination, you close your eyes, and just think you can go

[wherever] you want in the world. If you’re inspired enough you can take

something back from that world. In my mind I can go anywhere, it’s like my

sixth sense.



Dilated Peoples “Worst

Comes to Worst”
 You also contributed your production skills to one of

Dilated Peoples’ biggest hits “Worst Comes to Worst”,

where did this beat originate from?


Alchemist: When I

found the loop, it had actually been used by a Wu-Tang

Affiliate, Killarmy or somebody, don’t quote

me on it though.  It wasn’t even a

serious effort, just some chops that I put on a tape with two other beats.

Dilated was in New York working on their album, and it was like the 15th

or 16th beat on the tape, it only had one sequence at the time.  They loved it though, took it to their

hotel that night and wrote to it. They even came came

up with the “Worst Comes to Worst”. 

We actually recorded it at D&D also.


I had

no idea it was going to take off the way it did, but Capitol was behind the

record 100%. I think it was really the fans that took the record to the next level.

It was just the perfect timing.  I

never over think any concept, I feel like people will always recognize music

with substance.



Capone N’ Noreaga f/ Foxy Brown “Bang Bang” Though you’ve avoided getting involved in many of the  so-called

“beefs” that many rappers succumb to, you produced “Bang Bang” by  CNN and Foxy Brown which set off a long

lasting battle between the two female emcees. Did you know that this song would

stir so much bad blood?


Alchemist: I

remember Jonathan Lighty picked me up, and we were on

our way to a Mobb Deep session. But he got a call

from NORE to stop by his session. NORE is one of my favorite people to work

with when it comes to picking beats. If you go into the studio with him and a

DAT full of beats, you’re going to record a song no matter what. I can’t

remember a time where I went into the studio with NORE, and after the 2nd

or 3rd beat he wasn’t like, “That’s it, put that up – I want that



We were

in New York, and like twenty-minutes into writing after I cued up the beat,

NORE was like, “Yo I’m a get my little sister on

this.” And he jumps on the cell – telling some girl to come down to studio

right now, and all this. Foxy must have been thirsty to get on a hardcore

record or just happen to be in the neighborhood because within 10 minutes she

walks through the door with her little crew of girls from Brooklyn, and they

were hood. I never really kicked it

with Foxy, but she really is a thorough girl straight from Brooklyn.  She came in and started writing

immediately, didn’t take two seconds. She wrote three rhymes, and after she

went into the booth we stood there by the door thinking like, “Ok let’s see

what happens.” And she spit one, and then immediately spit another one and we

all started going crazy.  The whole

studio bugged out and NORE loved it. I knew she was going in, but I didn’t think

it was really going to be start some beef with Lil’ Kim at the time.



Alchemist f/ Prodigy, Illa Gee & Nina Sky “Hold You

 One last record that is a now classic off your 1st infantry album, “Hold You Down”

featuring Prodigy, Illa Gee, and Nina Sky. The sample wasn’t unheard of, but you freaked it your



Alchemist: I had

the song basically done without the hook, and I was loving

it. But I reached out to Cipha Sounds and at the time

he had this new girl group, Nina Sky,  but they only had like one

record out at the time, so I wasn’t sure if they’re capable artists. Ciph though was just like, “Throw me a record” and “I’ll

show how dope they really are.” 



enough, he sent it back and the hook was already done, and I loved the record

even more. Nina Sky are super talented girls. Also at

the time Prodigy was going at it with Jay, and he used the sample already, but

it was “Soon You’ll Understand.” So we took it and did our version or whatever

because P wanted to flip it, but I was still a fan of Jay’s. I even saw Jay

after the record blew up at Nobu, and I approached

him actually kind of apologetic at first, like “My bad about the record,” but

Jay was like, “Nah nah, I actually like that record.” That really blew me away,

and to this day Jay is one of the few artists that I really want to work with,

so Jay what up?!!! [laughs]