Written Before Listen
Boldy James is a rapper hailing from Atlanta Georgia. He’s been rapping for a while now but he didn’t get the respected buzz until 2020 with “The Price Of Tea In China”. That album was also produced by production heavyweight, The Alchemist. The Alchemist so happens to be one of my all-time favorite producers. He recently produced the new Armand Hammer album “Haram” and I enjoyed that project a lot. I’m looking forward to seeing what he can do with Boldy James this time around.
As you already know, The Alchemist is an elite producer in the hip hop underground. He is known for his minimal sampling, psychedelic effect,s, and subtle changes. There are a lot of amazing beats on this too. For example, I love the throbbing synth bass and psychedelic atmosphere on “Brickmile to Montana”. I like the rushing feeling of the beat on “Steel Wool” too. I love the chipmunk soul instrumentals on “Turpentine” and “Illegal Search & Seizure” and I like the trappyness of “First 48 Freestyle”. Surely some instrumentals underperform but like usual, most of the time, Alchemist does his job.
As you know, Alchemist doesn’t choose just anyone. Alchemist chooses lyricists. Boldy James is surely one hell of a lyricist. He also so happens to be a coke rapper alongside Freddie Gibbs, Griselda, and Pusha T. Boldy James also shows that he is a vivid storyteller with songs like “Steel Wool”, “Speed Trap” and “Illegal Search & Seizure”. He also shows his rhyming abilities with “Diamond Dallas” and “First 48 Freestyle” as he continues to rhyme with the same scheme throughout the whole verse. I think it’s easy to say that the lyrics are the best part of this album.
Alchemist’s Album Cohesion
Some of the things that make Alchemist such a great producer are not with the beats he makes, it’s how he curates the album. The cover, the sampling at the end and beginning, and the scattered dialogue make this an album to listen to front to back. This is not the first time he’s done this either. It was like that with ‘Alfredo’, it was like that with ‘Fetti’ and it was like that with the previous Boldy & Alchemist album. It’s a vibe.
How does The Alchemist connect with an artist? Well, he knows what emotion works with lyrics. There is a difference between the emotion on “Brickmile to Montana” and “Illegal Search & Seizure”. I think their aesthetic is less hardcore though. It’s more jazzy and melancholic. Instead of the luxurious production on ‘Alfredo’ or the experimental production on ‘Haram’, this is just a jazzy and soulful produced album that Boldy James can effortlessly annihilate.
I will first off say that a majority of the songs were in the category of being enjoyable but nothing memorable. Luckily there is also a good 5 or 6 songs that aren’t like that. Other than that, Boldy James & The Alchemist deliver one of the strongest gangsta rap albums of 2021.
Well, this was a great album. I’m glad I decided to review this because this is easily one of my favorite hip-hop albums of 2021. I cant wait to see what Boldy James is after this.