Montgomery College - Germantown Student Newspaper



Why The Alchemist is Better Than Your Favorite Producer


Written by Xavier Serrano

February 15, 2024, The Alchemist takes hip-hop by the throat one more time with his brilliant production as he solidifies himself as one of the greatest of all time.

Alan Daniel also known as The Alchemist is an American hip-hop producer/ rapper best known for his work with multi-platinum-selling artists such as Mobb Deep, Anderson Paak, Action Bronson, etc. The Alchemist found success in the late 90s/ early 2000s producing notable tracks such as “ Hold You Down, “ “ We Gon’ Make It “ and more.

As time has shown, hip hop would evolve drastically over the following years which would cause a slow decline in the production of boom-bap beats and would take influence from southern production and incorporate trap beats and 808s. Producers such as DJ Premier, Pete Rock, and Swiss Beatz would slowly fade as they would never capture the same success they did prior in the 90s.

A new breed of producers would take hip hop by storm as they defined the new sound of hip hop. From 2010 to now, Clams Casino, Metro Boomin, DJ Scheme, and more would leave their mark as the vintage sound of drum kits and sampling would be washed away by the tide of a new generation.

With most of the cornerstones of hip-hop washed away, there remained a few producers who found a groove in the cracks and evolved with the sound but still managed to keep their musical integrity intact. One of those producers is The Alchemist; in the midst of all the change, The producer would go on to continue to curate and perfect his trademark gritty sound that is beloved by hip-hop fans all around. Consistency would bless the masses as The Alchemist would continue to pump out numerous projects that would be carefully crafted with quality, yet, these projects would fall below the radar in terms of commercial success.

That would soon change as history would repeat itself as a group of emcees would reemerge from New York to complement ALC’s production. Rappers such as Curren$y, Boldly James, and Roc Marciano, seemingly ghosts of the pasts would display their lyrical abilities on modern “ boom bap” beats which would gain notoriety from underground hip hop enjoyers. As the production got better, so did the artists The Alchemist would collaborate with on the records, gaining a larger following over time, showing just how much longevity the veteran had.

A group of rappers from Buffalo would capture magic in a bottle as they would collaborate with The Alchemist for periods of time; garnering larger amounts of attention that was hardly seen in the underground hip-hop scene. Griselda, a hip hop trio composed of rappers Westside Gunn, Conway The Machine, and Benny The Butcher would make breakthroughs in hip hop due to their grimy, dark, unwelcoming sound, it matched perfectly with the aesthetic of the Alchemist drums and snares.

As some producers attempted to adapt to modern sound, The Alchemist would instead create his unique sound that was recognizable as it turned many heads in the hop community. As of today, many young producers attempt to replicate the sound which would allow The

Alchemist to drop occasional drum kits for aspiring producers. The sound would be reminiscent of earlier sounds of hip hop that still captured the attention of a modern audience.

The Alchemist would gain a Grammy nomination in 2020 with his breakout album “ Alfredo” with Indiana native, Freddie Gibbs. The soulful production layered with serious subject matter of drug use and introspective ideas would gain titles such as “ One of the greatest albums of all time.” Unfortunately, the Grammy Award winner would be Nas, a legend in the hip-hop community. With the loss being permanent, so was the mainstream notoriety as the media would argue that Alfredo was the deserving album, nonetheless, the success would only continue to grow this late in the producer’s career.

As the producer would have a second wind, success, and larger opportunities paved the way for The Alchemist as he would gain 3 Grammy nominations as well as collaborations with mainstream talent such as Travis Scott, Drake, Kendrick Lamar, Kid Cudi, etc proving just how far his production would go in terms of the audiences it was reaching. The Alchemist had perpetuated the sounds of unorthodox loops in his production as well as eerie piano keys followed by classical instrumentation which gained buzz fairly quickly.

At 46 years old, the Los Angeles native would resurge himself into the top 5 producers of all time list with his quality production, rapped over by skilled lyricists that are pushing the narrative of bringing lyricism back to hip hop. The longevity of a producer is a coin flip and it all depends on whether or not you can evolve with the sound or if you’re one-dimensional, The Alchemist would showcase his diversity in numerous collaborative efforts that would only push hip hop in the right direction. For over 20 years The Alchemist continues to prove why he is one of the greatest producers of all time, producing for prestigious lyricists of the past and lyrical juggernauts of the present. Continuing to outdo some of your favorite producers. Do we hear artists asking for beats from Dr Dre? No. From 9th Wonder? Not anymore. From The RZA? Nope.

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Why The Alchemist is Better Than Your Favorite Producer