Posted by: thundaworld | December 2, 2013

ALBUM REVIEW: Willie The Kid & Alchemist- Masterpiece Theatre by: JIM HAMER (Review)

Willie The_Kid_Alchemist_Materpiece_Theatre_front_cover (
Willie The Kid & Alchemist- Masterpiece Theatre by:  JIM HAMER
Willie The Kid has been doing his thing for a minute now. Willie is LA The Darkman’s younger kin hailing from Grand Rapids, Michigan A.K.A. Gun Rule. They are now running their own Embassy Entertainment imprint, after branching off from DJ Drama’s ATL affiliation in 2009 and going for delf. Willie’s released a series of mixtapes (The Fly, The Cure, Dilla Forever, etc..) and has made notable guest appearances (“Marina” w/Jon Connor) since 2006. His flows are incredible. Grimy, pistol to your dome, spits. An amazing maze of rhymes that hold his listeners captive. This “kid” can rap for days, and over ALC’s sizzling production, the results are mesmerizing & marvelous.

2013 is the Alchemist’s 20th Anniversary in Hip Hop. He started out rapping as the hyper half of The Whooliganz as MudFoot, alongside actor and childhood friend Scott Caan, way back in 1993. They embarked on the 1st official Soul Assassins Tour alongside Cypress Hill, House of Pain, & Funkdoobiest, and released a 12″ called “Put Your Handz Up” on Tommy Boy Records. Soon after they kicked in the door, the label unfortunately dropped the duo and didn’t release the group’s full-length debut as scheduled. Al decided to put the mic down for a minute and concentrated on structuring his sound behind the boards full time. An Ensoniq ASR-10 was his weapon of choice. Since he left the shadow of DJ Muggs in the mid 90’s, he has laced scorching soundtracks for virtually every MC/Artist in the rap game (Nas, Fat Joe, Dilated Peoples, Eminem). He’s now on to the new cats.

ALC has constructed a real lab in Venice Beach, CA that has a riveting, revolving roster of heat coming thru. This is his “Rap Camp”, where he’s chemically combining and concocting new twisted treats for heads like Planet Asia & Durag Dynasty, Oh No, Curren$y, Boldy James, Action Bronson, Roc Marciano, and of course, Willie The Kid.
If The Alchemist’s production seemed eerie and horror harmony inspired on his early work with Cypress Hill and Mobb Deep, consider “Masterpiece Theatre” to be Glorious Gangsta. Melodic Mayhem even.
ALC weaves a web of auditory pleasure while Willie The Kid unleashes lyrics of fury. Nothing but fire, this EP is close to being a “masterpiece”. It is an aural warp back in time inspired by the glitz and glamour of the 70’s & 80’s. Playing on the title of the PBS series that started in 1971, the EP plays like a crime drama out of this pivitol period. It’s seductive, yet street. Willie shines over the sinister backgrounds that The Alchemist drums up. Brooding and not too complex, Masterpiece Theatre displays the chemistry between them and toasts to their achievements in sound. Overlooking the city lights, this project is a cinematic gem. The overall tone of Masterpiece Theatre is atavistic, as well as futuristic.
“Opening Credits” is, like most of the record, a throwback. Harrowing Horns straight out of a Blaxploitation film with vocal stabs “W-W-W-Willie…”, from the pimpin’ classic Willie Dynamite, fade into a sample of Clint Eastwood in Sudden Impact as Dirty Harry, letting the listener know shots are about to be fired.
The first blast, “Shake Dice”, has the crowd scattering. Act One is action packed. “I’ve never been one for bickerin’/ A tit for tat, I’m in the Jaguar snickerin’.”. Aiming at the career rebels, chain smokers, and champagne poppers, Willie slangs verses bubbling over with terse topics. Sipping Everclear in the Everglades. Fendi lawn chairs. Pretty bitches poppin’ Oxycontins. Coconut Ciroc. Barcelona nights. WTF WTK.
“Halal Tuna…” is the next treat. On some James Bond type ish, Willie The Kid plays smooth operator over ALC’s thunderous bass for the first single and video. “I’m on the pier with my peers, pouring vodka, pear infused, wearing jewels, pet names for my Uzi’s/ Floozies, Jacuzzi tubs, milk baths, bad bitches laugh, Laguvulin, Haliburton money, ‘Who you fooling?'” This is wordplay surging with elite extravagance. “Ghetto Gambinos, Cognac, Halal Tuna…”.

Peep “Bad Mistake” with the jaw-dropping vocal sample of Robert DeNiro in Scorsese’s elegant epic, Casino (1995). “Fuckin’ right you made a bad mistake…”. Short, but definitely not sweet, Willie rips his verse while The Alchemist himself lets loose on this one, getting his occasional rhyme on, rapping when he damn wants to.

The picturesque, penthouse music never stops as we hear a piano drift right into the project’s posse cut, “Medusa” feat. Roc Marciano and Action Bronson. Alchemist reworks the vocals on Zvika Pik’s “Love Has No Country”, transforming the track into true crew cohesiveness.
The front line assembly of “Gettysburg” showcases the saga of syllables of the troops on ALC’s creative, smoked-out, battleground. Intense and laid back at the same time, this jawn is black porcelain. Play voyeur as a beautiful woman disrobes right in front of you. Martini glass or flute in hand.  I know I am…
The final act remains dreamy and erotic. The soulful sample of The 21st Century’s “Remember The Rain?” repeating “To get my umbrella, To get my umbrella…” on “Let The Money Stay” is harassingly hypnotic. Get cozy and out of the rain girl. Grab the Clicquot. Dive in or relax poolside to this priceless joint. “Fuck poppin’ champagne on a rainy day/I’m poppin’ champagne on a sunny day. All the ho’s, ya’ll can leave, let the money stay”.  Someone please hit replay…
“Masterpiece Theatre” is a smart, soon to be classic EP, that supplies some of the best super, sonic sounds of the year. An audible assault that gives heads a taste of what is about to come from Willie The Kid. His Aquamarine LP is finally available, along with the Somewhere EP, and The Living Daylights mixtape is on the way. Next, he’ll be holding it down acting and serving as Co-Executive Producer of his own short film, The Fly, accompanied by The Fly 3 mixtape. 2013 rounds off a fabulous year, closing the curtain for both of these artists. The Alchemist is never running out of heat and Willie The Kid is just getting warmed up.
© 2013 Jim Hamer


  1. Dope review! I gotta pick this up.

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