Guest Post By
Jamey “Numoon” Roberti
There is a playful, vintage-sounding interlude called “Your Boy Al” on First Infantry by the Alchemist where a woman sings “Our boy Al, everybody’s pal” in a way that almost sounds like a Sesame Street song. The track comes after “Dead Bodies” featuring The Game and Prodigy and before “The Essence” featuring the Lox.
While it may seem out of place, Alan “Alchemist” Maman created this contrast on purpose. His production became successful in early 2000’s as a compliment to rappers such as Jadakiss and Styles P on “We Gon’ Make it” and “When you hear the” by Mobb Deep. And while the beats were a bit more electronic and gangster-rap focused, they were unique enough to draw street rappers and conscious emcees alike.
Alchemist teamed up with former collaborator Prodigy (rest in peace) for the Return of the Mac album in 2007, one of Alchemist’s first full album with one emcee (they later teamed up on 2013 for another project, Albert Einstein).When Alchemist created another collaboration project with emcee Curren$y, a transformation was seen.
The duo released their album Covert Coup in 2011 to internet acclaim. The album featured a jarring yet artistic photo of people tearing down a statue of Joseph Stalin. Curren$y later explained this was a representation of his rebellion again the music industry. He taught Alchemist that the approach of creating art at high volumes and making it easily accessible to the fans via the budding internet blogs would gain him a strong and consistent core fan base that major labels cannot offer. Alchemist heard this advice and used it to create what we now know him to be.
From 2011 to present, we have seen the Alchemist transform from a talented producer working in the music industry to a boundary-pushing beat maker with unique samples, calm yet overwhelming beats, and multiple great collaborations. He went on to make similar “one emcee” projects with artists such as Action Bronson, Domo Genesis, Boldy James, Conway the Machine, Freddie Gibbs (a grammy-nominated album), and most recently Earl Sweatshirt.
Along with these projects, Alchemist has expanded into merchandise that builds relationships with fans by catering to their collector hobbies. Many of his albums are available via vinyl with unique cases and prints, and his latest project Void Dire included use of NFTs. All of this shows that he knew how to adjust in the industry to a work ethic and mode that best suits him and establishes his creative and entrepreneurial legacy in hip hop producer history.
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