One day I was casually scrolling through The Alchemist’s Wikipedia page, when I clicked on his production discography. I must have been looking for backup for a certain song when I stumbled across the year 2004. Mobb Deep’s Amerikaz Nightmare dropped that year, which I was bumping back then. Plus, Alchemist had credits on both Jadakiss’ sophomore album, Kiss of Death, and Snoop Dogg’s latest effort, R&G. Neither of these production credits surprised me.
I scrolled a bit further down and saw Nelly’s name.
I was dumbfounded.
I like Nelly. I just never imagined this collaboration. I remember Nelly’s Sweat album. I remember “Na-nana-na.” I remember those crazy horns on “Heart of a Champion.” Also, I remember “Heart” because it sampled the NBA on NBC theme. And because it was fire!
Although I was stunned at the collaboration, I was curious on the outcome.
I got the idea of saving my first time experiencing this record for my yearly dedication to Alchemist.
I was patient. I made note of it and remembered to circle back to it. And now here we are.
I did not know what to expect.
First thing, I did was listen to the sample.
Lee Ryda’s “Magnetic Dance 1” is fire. It’s the epitome of what the 1980s was if you had to summarize it in a record. It’s a mixture of electronic, disco and funk. It’s dope, point blank. I don’t give a fuck.
With the Lee Ryda record in mind, I checked out the final product. I grabbed my iPhone, and went to purchase the Nelly record from the iTunes store. I happily gave iTunes my $1.29 for the record, steep price for a fourteen-year-old record, I know!
Fuck it, I hit purchased anyway.
I hit play and…
The record was decent, to say the least. Alchemist’s slowed the sample down and added some hard drums. That enhanced the record and really gave it a futuristic sound to it.
At first, the guest feature from Mobb Deep on a Nelly record might cause you to scratch your head but it worked. Much like they did on 50’s record the following year, Mobb rapped about wooing women but still kept it Mobb Deep. Both Havoc and Prodigy do not sound out of place, at all.
Meanwhile, Nelly was flowing along the beat. His southern accent really brought an extraterrestrial flavor to it. It’s like adding Tapatio hot sauce to Funyuns. Nelly is upsettingly overlooked as a rapper. Do you recall how dope Country Grammar was? Nelly knows, even adding a line in his verse saying he gets little respect.
My expectations for this record were low but after listening to it, it’s not a bad record. It has a nice bounce to it thanks to that futuristic electronic sound and the verses are easy on the ears, in the sense that Havoc, Prodigy and Nelly aren’t kicking anything too complex. All deliver a decent outing.
I approve of this collaboration, and welcome any future Nelly and Alchemist records.
(Photo Credit: Alchemist’s Instagram)