The Alchemist just hits different. One of the most consistently engaging producers in the hip-hop realm, hit ability to fuse painterly soundscapes with gut-punching beats is second to none. Re-convening with New Orleans rapper Curren$y, ‘Continuance’ presents a creative relationship framed by rich depth, and an implicit understand of one another’s skills.
Much more than a mere studio session, ‘Continuance’ is a fully fledged, fully fleshed out album. ‘Half Moon Mornings’ is a subtle intro, while ‘Reese’s Cup’ – all 90 seconds of it – is packed with intricate detail, a showcase in under-emphasis.
The album hinges on the age-old relationship between producer and MC, with each seeming to push one another into a different space. The studio discussion at the end of ‘No Yeast’ offers a glimpse behind the curtain, while tracks like ‘Obsession’ and ‘Signature Move’ are real peaks – lush sonics, punchy bars, and creativity that constantly surprises.
The features are used sparingly, and effectively. In an era of feature-culture gone wild it’s nice to artists re-connect with the intricacies of the discussion; Havoc and Wiz Khalifa engage with ‘Corvette Rally Stripes’, while man-of-the-moment Babyface Ray doesn’t waste a single bar on his punchy, effective ‘Louis Baggage’ co-sign.
A trim, concise project, ‘Continuance’ packs a raft of data into its 13 tracks. Pushing back against the requirements for streaming leviathans, Curren$y and The Alchemist are content to let the pieces fall, come what may; album highlight ‘Joedci Tape’ is only 120 seconds long, while closer ‘Kool & The Gang’ is a lush feast of Fender Rhodes that scarcely escapes the two minute mark.
A hugely effective partnership, Curren$y’s raps – weed, women, the trappings of fame – don’t dwell on subtlety, but it’s the manner in which they are presented that affords ‘Continuance’ its depth.
Words: Robin Murray
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