Another excellent release from one of hip-hop’s most respected creators.
Delivering a solo EP just over a month after the goliath effort of Armand Hammer’s Haram is an act of both extreme generosity and demented productivity. But on This Thing Of Ours, a modest collection boasting appearances from Earl Sweatshirt and Pink Siifu, The Alchemist has concocted an infectiously meditative atmosphere.
The EP falls into Blue Lines levels of ‘stoner’ style, whether intentional or not. Massive Attack, as pioneers of what has come to be known as trip-hop, developed a genre that accompanied the dimly-lit rooms of twenty-somethings and brought vast diversity of influence to the mainstream. As an album, it’s education.
This Thing Of Ours, while obviously shorter in length and lower in quantity, is a similarly observant ensemble. Just to help you realise the vast assortment of ingredients that have created the final product, The Alchemist has provided stripped back, instrumentals only versions of each track.
Pluck a genre out of thin air and it’s probably found a way in. The most dominant theme is the MF DOOM-inspired hooks – characteristically lethargic and endearing, they set the basis for the bulk of the EP, particularly the stand-out number ‘TV Dinners’. The myriad samples fizzle in and out enticingly too, and evoke realist undercurrents similar to A Tribe Called Quest’s Beats, Rhymes and Life.
The vocal performances are both powerful and fitting of the overarching mood of the EP – they seek not to overawe but to compliment to the lovingly crafted rhythms of that The Alchemist brings to the table. Earl Sweatshirt and Navy Blue’s presence on opening track ‘Nobles’ reflects this sentiment best.
This Thing Of Ours showcases some of rap’s most commanding figures meticulously overseen by The Alchemist’s ever-acclaimed and sought after creations, acting as a wonderful introduction to The Alchemist’s expansive discography and to hip-hop trends more generally.