"Chemical Warfare" came in 2009 as the second album from The Alchemist (a West Coast MC and producer known mostly for his work with Dilated Peoples). It sees that in this case he takes a step back and, on the most part, gives over his beats to a range of guests such as Three 6 Mafia, Kool G Rap and Snoop Dogg for a rather complex and diverse record which has a futuristic theme running through it.
2. "ALC Theme"
After a short introduction, where he shows off his DJing skills, you get a track which has him coming with a cold track where he gets the first rhymes before he chooses to hand thing over to Kool G Rap, who comes (typically) through with some rough rhymes. However I through that for an opener, the beats really weren't impressive at all, and really put me off at a crucial time on the record for a bit of a weak start.
3. "Lose Your Life"
As things move on, you see that immediately there is a massive shift in the music and there is a big lift in the quality in things as he gets down to a track where he is able to use beats which reflect the darker years when the West Coast was the most popular style in Hip Hop, and this enables Snoop Dogg to be a perfect choice as a collaborator and it leads to banger as he is also joined bu The Clipse's Pusha-T and Jadakiss.
4. "Chemical Warfare"
On the titular track to the album you have a track that I expect that many will enjoy as it sees that The Alchemist works with Eminem and brings some beats that you tend to expect from an Em' tune. It is only a short one, and so stands as basically an interlude and a bit of a chance to reintroduce the subject of the album, but I can't say that I felt that it had any real purpose and it didn't seem add in any way.
5. "Grand Concourse Benches"
Getting back to the full-length material, this one has him working with a legend in the Hip Hop game as he gets KRS-One (of Boogie Down Productions) to jump on top of his haunting beats. Recent KRS material does little for me at all (as he tends to lose rhythm and resort to spoken word) and this is basically what you get here with recycled themes that you won't really be missing out if you don't hear.
With a few names which the times much more, this is a track which has him bringing in Evidence (of Dilated Peoples) as a person that naturally works well with him (although I can't say that I've been that impressed with much of their later work). In addition to him, who raps about things that don't really have much of a purpose, you get the West Coast's Blu, Brooklyn's Talib Kweli and Kid Cudi singing for the hook as a bit of a cluttered and clumsy track.
7. "That'll Work"
Here you get a rather unexpected track on the album as you see that The Alchemist takes it right down to the Dirty South with this one and tries out some beats which reflect the southern style to make the guests, DJ Paul and Juicy J of Three 6 Mafia and Louisiana's Juvenile too. Aside from the latter artists' flow, I thought that this one was a banger and it stands as one of the biggest on the tune (and recues it at this time).
Moving things on a bit, you find that here you get a tune which has The Alchemist actually rapping on this one himself to show tha he has more of a presence on the thing than just lending what I feel are pretty average beats (not that his rhymes are much better) but after this, you see that you get some nice soulful vocals from Maxwell and then some speed raps from Chicago's Twista to add to the diversity on a rather cold tune (considering the warming title).
9. "Keeps The Heels On"
Doing things in a pretty straight-forward manner you find that you get a track which has Prodigy of Mobb Deep working with him here for a tune that seems to improve things ever so slightly. It features some dingy production to really take the listeners down and feel the quality that he has (somewhere in within him) for one which has P rapping on the types of girls he likes for a rather confused one.
10. "Acts Of Violence"
Here you get a tune which has The Alchemist working with Oh No, Roc C and Crooked I. I felt that of all on the record, this one was the one I had the least interest in (considering the line-up) and this seems right when you hear how lifeless the results of this one is as the alternative artist come together to make a track that is far too underground and doens't have the sort of lyricism you would expect to save such a recording.
11. "Lights, Camera, Action"
It moves on with a massive improvement as you have a rough track where Lil' Fame (of M.O.P) comes with his raw Hip Hop material. His energy takes you to a new place and it seems to affirm how the track prior to this one had absolutely nothing going for it at all as he single-handedly rips it on another of the short, interlude-like tracks which are just there on the album for the added hype.
12. "Some Gangster S**t"
Brooklyn's Fabolous is the one to take control with this one as you find that Loso comes through and does damage at a time when Alchemist and Fabolous (as the guest) seem to be on the same level (which is surprisingly rare on the album) and it seems to translate into one of the better offerings on the album as result as together they make for a heavy tune which brings in a variety styles, with the futuristic theme for a big tune.
13. "On Sight"
This one is a killer trakc on the album and one that you simply cannot ignore. It stands out massively on the album and I can't see how anyone can hate on it as Alchemist comes through with some funky beats to take you back to the mid00ninietes, at a time when the featured artist made the biggest impact on the game as you see that Kurupt and Daz Dillinger perform as Tha Dogg Pound and do so with The Lady Of Rage for a banger of a West coast jam to show that there's something worth getting the album for.
14. "Take A Look Back"
Here you get a track where The Alchemist does thing alone as a bit of a change. He lays down some pretty fly beats to give things a laid-back feel and from this he gets the chance to do a few lines. It is an expected flop of a tune and in spite of the fact that he comes with some of the better beats from the record, little more comes of it and it means that he can't make use of the strength of the track which came before it as he reflects on his life for the final track.
I was hugely disappointed by this album as it really didn't have much to offer at all. I expected that although I knew where the best guests were found, apart from on those tunes, there was nothing worth listening to on the album and so I can't really recommend it, but there are a couple that do really stand out as something that you can't go without.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Intro - The Alchemist
2 ALC Theme - The Alchemist, Kool G Rap
3 Lose Your Life - The Alchemist, Jadakiss, Pusha T, , Snoop Dogg
4 Chemical Warfare - The Alchemist, Eminem
5 Grand Concourse Benches - The Alchemist, KRS-One,
6 Therapy - The Alchemist, , Blu, , Evidence, Kid Cudi, Talib Kweli
7 That'll Work - The Alchemist, Juvenile, , Three 6 Mafia
8 Smile - The Alchemist, Maxwell, Twista
9 Keep the Heels On - The Alchemist, , Prodigy
10 Acts of Violence - The Alchemist, Gangrene
11 Lights, Cameras, Action - The Alchemist, Lil' Fame,
12 Some Gangster Sh*t - The Alchemist, Fabolous
13 On Sight - The Alchemist, , Dogg Pound Posse, The Lady of Rage
14 Take a Look Back - The Alchemist
15 Under Siege [*] - The Alchemist