The Alchemist, Russian Roulette
A must-have Rappers Killing It In 2012 showcase
It was just a matter of time before the Alchemist followed the lead of his Gangrene partner Oh No (Dr. No’s Oxperiment, Dr. No’s Ethiopium) and concocted his own rapid-fire collection of beats sourced from obscure international origin. In the case of Russian Roulette, he spins some inspired psychedelic headknock out of Soviet-era Russian jazz and fusion, all tied together in a fast-paced continuous mix where cinematic dialogue clips mesh with 16-bar hit-and-run verses and no tracks even approach the three-minute mark. Everyone involved makes a quick and memorable impact under those constraints: The beats hit that sweet spot between proggy, fuzzed-out obscurantism and nod-your-head immediacy, while highlight-reel appearances from mainstays Action Bronson (diabolical gourmet player’s anthem “Decisions Over Veal Orloff”), Mr. Muthafuckin’ eXquire (femmes fatale sci-fi-pulp story “The Explanation”), Danny Brown and ScHoolboy Q (teaming up to napalm everything in their path on “Fight Confirmation”) make it a must-have Rappers Killing It In 2012 showcase.