By binger0 Thu Oct 28, 2004 7:45 am
1st Infantry: Tha Streets Is Watchin'
ThaFormula.Com - Now how did your first group the Whooliganz get started?
Alchemist - That was growing up and being around the circuit of rhymin' and hookin' up with B-Real and Muggs. Our sound kind of developed around the Soul Assassins. They kind of saw us like a younger version of them so they kind of molded us up like that. Me and my man was just doing music and then we got put in that position. At that time they were like Roc-A-Fella, just not as much money, but they was at the top of the ****.
ThaFormula.Com - Now you were a part of the legendary Soul Assassins tours at the time when Cypress, Funkdoobiest, House Of Pain, Mellow Man Ace and everyone was hittin'. Where do you rank that time in hip hop?
Alchemist - That was the best time of my career. It was fresh just being a part of something like that. I look back now and it's like I would have taken so much more advantage of the situation had I not been this little kid who was brought into this situation. I’ve been on so many tours since and I have to say the first Soul Assassins tour was the only tour ever that sticks out in my mind where everybody on the tour was down with each other. Every group, every person, every road manager, to every security guard was down with each other. It was all like we were one group really. Every night after the show we would be at the hotel 40 deep and go out every night. It was pretty much a crew thing. Ever since then every tour I’ve been on, **** don't even click with each other. You say what's up to each other every once in a while when your going up to the stage or something like that.
ThaFormula.Com - Did you guys actually complete the Whooliganz album man?
Alchemist - Yeah we had a whole album. T-Ray did most of that album and we also had production from the Baka Boyz on it. I mean I wish it would have came out back then so that I could have gave it a shot. It was dope for back then. It was the beginning of my creative stages as far as music. At the same time I listen to it and say “thank god it didn't come out,” ‘cause I had high pitched rappin' voice and it was just like I really didn't know what was going on. I was really into Grand Puba and you could hear it in the rhymes.
ThaFormula.Com - What's up with T-Ray? He was a dope ass producer…
Alchemist – Right? I still keep in touch with T-Ray. He's doing his thing, but he tried to tackle the label thing and those are big shoes to fill on a major label. He's trying to go hard with it and I think it side tracked him from the creative process. Every time I see Showbiz and them or Finesse or Buckwild, uh he's like man I remember going to the record conventions. This **** would be coming out with a wheel barrel full of records. We would try and get there at seven in the morning trying to beat the rush to get all the good joints and he would already be coming out of there with a grip of records. He would call all the dealers the night before and would get all the records before everybody. They used to hate him. T-Ray was on a mission back in the day.
ThaFormula.Com - Once the Whooliganz project didn't work out, what did you do from there?
Alchemist - Well I was still in my second year of high school I think when they decided not to put the album out. But we was still making songs everyday and working as the Whooliganz for a minute. But it wasn't like, “damn it didn't happen, what are we gonna do now?” We was young kids still living with our families and **** so it really wasn't a stress thing, “like man we gotta eat.” After the tour and the album never came out, I started kicking it more at B-Real's crib on the couch chillin'. At that time I had already bought an ASR from the record deal. So I was already learning how to make beats and choppin' **** up. Being over at B-Real's crib, he ended up building a little studio in his garage. That was right around the time when they were gonna start the Cypress III album. So I was doing a lot of beats and **** in the garage and Muggs was coming over there everyday. He seen the hunger in my ass, because I don't think he really tripped off of me like that before during the tours. So Muggs started taking me in and started telling me to come work on beats with him in B-Real's garage. So we just started making **** together and that was the beginning of that. Then Muggs moved up to this crib in the hills and I used to be over there everyday. That was from the Cypress III album. There is a lot of **** I did on there.
ThaFormula.Com - Did doing those tracks for Cypress help you out somehow?
Alchemist - Indirectly. It was just another steppin' stone. It wasn't like I made whole lot of beats. Muggs would just say, let me take that. It was more like we would be up in the crib and we would be making beats together. I was probably doing some of the music and samples and stuff for some of the songs. Muggs was always doing the drums back then. I was never doing the drums and ****.
ThaFormula.Com - Are you one of those producers like Primo that would never put his name on something he didn't produce and is that something that you feel you will always do?
Alchemist - Yeah man. It just feel better man. Like if I didn't do a beat and everybody was coming up to me going, “yo that **** is crazy.” I would feel phony saying thanks. That's what I would really have to get over mentally to be able to do some **** like that. But I guess mentally a lot of producers don't look at it that way.
ThaFormula.Com - Is that something that happens a lot man as far as producers putting their name on something they didn't do?
Alchemist - Hell yeah. More or less though I would say it's more stealing ideas. I think **** be hearing beat CD's and go and get the same sample or they will have somebody replay it similar.
ThaFormula.Com - Now you are a part of Soul Assassins, Dilated, and Mobb Deep. It must feel good to be part of so many families in hip hop.
Alchemist - Everyone of those people knows my mother and father or I know their mother and father. It's like family beyond this music. Growing up in Cali and the circles I grew up in. I got to give credit to my mother and father. They raised me the right way, to be humble. I try to stay modest and don't try to feed into all that ****. My confidence speaks for itself in the music so I don't try to go berserk. I was just raised that way and I think that keeps you likeable and in circles. I'm also loyal to the point where man loyalty will **** you up sometimes. I'm loyal like a dog and that **** sometimes can hurt you. The circle I have of people we grew up with is a trip.
ThaFormula.Com - How did the Alchemist and Dilated connection happened?
Alchemist - We all grew up together. We went to a different high school but lived in the same neighborhood. Ev lived in Venice right next to QDIII who was doing the Whooliganz first demo and when I met him he was already rappin’. He was always rappin’ and doing a lot of graffiti so we kind of clicked like that. Will. I. Am. and Ev actually had a little click back then. They had this song that was crazy when we were young that QDIII produced where he used the same sample as The Pharcyde's "Passing Me By" way before the Pharcyde did it and blew up with it. Will was like a legend when we were young. When I see Black Eyed Peas finally blew up now man it feels good. Will was the man when it came to the rhymes back then. It was a given he was gonna be a star. So they put us onto Quincy and since day one Ev was down with us. Ev rhymes on the Whooliganz album on a song called "Across the Map," which was one of the first beats I ever made. Ev was always part of Soul Assassins since day one. His group just didn't get on and poppin' the same way. Him and Rakaa actually had a group before Dilated and they were signed to DJ Lethal and they had a whole album and everything. But it never actually happened.
ThaFormula.Com - What made you Co-Executive produce Dilated Peoples last album?
Alchemist - Well basically we did 2 albums so far. We achieved like 350,000 I think on the last album. So the first one was like 200,000 and the next one was 350,000 so we were growing. But now we felt the pressure on this third album, straight up. Especially seeing Will and them blowin', it was like “we wanna blow too.” Not to change our sound or nothing, but we got to figure out how we’re gonna be successful. Otherwise we should just go independent and say “**** it.” These major labels ain't gonna wanna **** with us if we ain't bringin' in the dough. I really wanted to step up this time. I like working with them because all 3 of them always have opinions. When we do mixes of songs everybody has lists of things they wanna do.
ThaFormula.Com - Did the album turn out like you hoped it would have?
Alchemist - Yeah. I love the album. In my heart certain things should have gone differently but like I told you, I'm a loyal dude. Certain things should have gone a different way but I will prevail. That's all I can say. I love Kanye West. He's probably one of the dopest in the game, but he got his right now and I think it's time for me to get mine my way.
ThaFormula.Com - What really went down with the Jadakiss and Ras Kass situation man, because I really saw that Ras was taking a lot of shots at you?
Alchemist - Yeah he was. It was just some industry **** man. What I say about that to clarify that is, it was on their side of things the music industry ****. He didn't understand the relationship with his label. They must have been telling him things that they weren't really backing him on. He didn't have the greatest relationship with that label so they must have been saying one thing and he's thinking another. I did give him that beat at first. I give beats to a lot of people but it was never official and they gave me the cold shoulder and left me hanging. I guess they weren't in good ties with Ras Kass at the time or whatever it was. I didn't even know Ras Kass like that. He met me in New York and didn't even know I was down with Soul Assassins and all that. So even after all that I was like whatever. I respected him as an artist and still do. The **** is dope.
ThaFormula.Com - Did you guys ever settle things?
Alchemist - We talked about it and chopped it up and had our arguments and all that. I had spoken about it with Xzibit before and he was getting involved in it. It was just a lot of nonsense and they were just really angry because Jadakiss **** was blowing up. It was nothing until all of a sudden that **** came out. It was years man. Everything happens for a reason.
ThaFormula.Com - Why do you think that you constantly get bombarded with production work while a lot of other OG producers and even new sometimes have a hard time finding production work?
Alchemist - I mean I make it like that for myself. I love what I do and I'm constantly at it and maybe it' because I didn't blow yet. Let's say after Jadakiss I went and sold 75 beats that all sounded like that. People would probably get sick of me.
ThaFormula.Com - How did you and Kane come together on the single "The Man, The Ikon"?
Alchemist - That was through my lawyer actually. We talked over the phone and then we chopped it up. I came down to New York and was hanging out with him. It was fun and it just came out right.
ThaFormula.Com - Now I had heard that you were supposed to have been executive producing his solo album. Was that true and whatever happened with that?
Alchemist - It was just business stuff with Bob Perry and Land Speed. It was just unstable **** and it just really wasn't official you know. I would have loved to do it but it just didn't seem like it was a priority for everybody. That's a big thing to do too. I was nervous at first ‘cause I'm thinking, “if this **** don't come out hot everyone would be looking at me crazy.” So I was nervous at first. We did some **** recently, but it didn't make tha album since the album is done.
ThaFormula.Com - So what made you decide it was finally time for you to drop your solo album?
Alchemist – I’ve been feeling this way for years. It just came together a little over a year ago so I was like let me do this **** now. It's time for me to stand on my own. You know I got out on the road with Mobb Deep to DJ for them, but that's not my role. I'm gonna be doing my own shows hopefully when I get this LP poppin'. You know my history from being with Cypress and on tours. I rocked huge shows when I was 15, so it's all in me still. It's just a matter of nurturing it. The album 1st Infantry, I'm only rhymin' on like two joints. So I'm sprinkling them with it so the vibe is gonna be like, “I ain't mad at that.” I'm making sure that they are solid. They are not the world's best rhymes but they’re solid enough for people to say, “I ain't mad at him.”
ThaFormula.Com - How long did you work on this album Al?
Alchemist - All ****' year man. Really more seriously like for half a year because I was floating doing other things. I got so much **** on the plate all the time because I'm that type of person to try to do 10 things at once you know. So in order to really get **** done you got to be like, okay let me put this **** on hold and knock this out.
ThaFormula.Com - What kind of album is this gonna be AL?
Alchemist - It's gonna be an Alchemist album in all essences and you know the people I **** with. Dilated is on there too.
ThaFormula.Com - What was the main reason for the delay?
Alchemist - Just trying to get **** right with the label switch. I switched my **** from Landspeed to Koch ‘cause I didn't wanna **** with Landspeed. I just got bad vibes from them with all the other projects we did. So if I had to put my **** back, I had to. I hope the people didn't get to jaded. Also picking the right songs and the right set up you know?
ThaFormula.Com - Do you think it's gonna be tough to blow up through going independent?
Alchemist - Absolutely. I mean the only thing I got is word of mouth. This album is gonna sell if everybody talks about it until it drops. That's why I'm having listening sessions because I want you to hear it and I want everyone to know what I'm holding. That way people can be like, “Yo this **** is coming and you gonna want to get this album.” I know it's a possibility this album will not be heard and seen by the world like it should be, but I'm gonna grind it out.
ThaFormula.Com - I know it makes it tougher when you’re coming with an album that doesn't have any really soft sound to it…
Alchemist - We played the album for Vibe and I was worried cause they’re not always with the type of **** I'm on. But they were loving it because there is a voice for that and it's just refreshing to hear a whole project full of it. It's just that **** man. I just made that ****. I ain't even trippin' and I cut out a lot of songs that were just decent. I really like this ****' album. Every time I have a new joint or something, I call up the DJ's like Clue and Kay Slay and they are always like, “yeah yeah” and take the joint and put it on their mixtape. This whole album is filled with that type of ****. **** is fire!! I was influenced by Dre's albums and just Dre period as a soloist. There was a vibe to each one of his album. He kind of assembled a little team of artists. They weren't all connected entirely but it felt that way. That's why I called it the "1st Infantry." It's basically Mobb Deep and the D-Block and I also got Banks on there. I got a Nappy Roots song that's crazy. I got a Devin tha Dude song that is one of my favorite joints. That's gonna be a single man. I got a Jadakiss joint that's crazy to. The Dilated song I'm lovin' also.
ThaFormula.Com - Did moving to New York make a big difference in your production?
Alchemist - Yeah, it helped me step up. The quality of beats and just the producers in general that are out in New York is just more competitive. L.A. is just Dre you know. It's like there is no room for a new producer to come up in L.A. because the minute he will come up, Dre and them will snatch him up and give him a ton of money and sign them to Dre.
ThaFormula.Com - Yeah it seems like when producers get with Dre they just disappear…
Alchemist - Like Hi-Tek. I don't wanna see him get swallowed by that **** because he's too **** dope man for Dre and them to just be snatching up his **** and just swallowing up his creativity. Even if he gets his credit in L.A., he can still go further and make his own records. He doesn’t need anybody.
ThaFormula.Com - Well I hope the album does what it is supposed to man. It drops Tuesday September 21st, 2004 so all you people reading be sure to cop 1st Infantry.
Alchemist - Yeah man. I'm putting all my eggs in this one. Everybody who can help me, that would be gangsta man. Were going to go all out with the album.
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