The Alchemist Presents: Rapper's Best Friend

Instrumental albums are always hit-or-miss since they are niche items. Constructed of a particular producer’s beats from various artists—sometimes even various genres—the beats are never truly defined as to whom they are catered to. Alchemist hopes to do away with all the confusion by letting you know exactly who Rapper’s Best Friend: An Instrumental Series (Decon) is for: rappers.Rapper’s Best Friend is chock full of familiar heaters and eclectic cuts that you’ve heard before—but that’s not all since Alchemist has also included unreleased tracks especially for this episode. “G-Type” has a nod-pause-nod rhythm given by the poignant kicks and almost concrete sounding slaps. The bass line here is the prevalent factor though, moving the track along with a style that’s decidedly gangster. “Guns Is razors” has an opening worthy of Spartacus with its soaring horns and choir inspired strings that fall away to reveal a sparse but inspirational march. The track itself is hot, but what really makes it stand out is how everything in the background almost has a life of its own. Syncopated snares seem to roll and drop, rise and fall all within the confines of the kick.The true test (or so one might think) of any instrumental album is this: when someone listens to it, can they separate the track away from whoever made it a song? Can they appreciate the music for just that—music? Rapper’s Best Friend is a split decision on that accord because tracks like “Back Again” and “Bring You Light” scream Dilated Peoples and Snoop Dogg respectively. It’s near impossible to see anything other than what you’ve already heard because it came out so well. Another issue is the inevitable “Rapper X would’ve KILLED this beat!” syndrome that one is likely to develop after hearing tracks like “Tight”. Nas is easily imagined doing his business on the aforementioned beat while. Instrumental albums can be a thing of beauty but they have to include material that no one’s heard and even better, no one’s used. Alchemist has made it so that there is no mistaking to whom this product is intended for, but outside of someone who intends to use it for a Hip-Hop project, it’s not the greatest expenditure of money. Through and through this is a collector’s item more than anything else.