Once served solely as an appetizer, the EP has unofficially became the main entrée for several Hip-Hop fans lacking the attention span to stomach an entire album’s worth of artist’s material. Looking to prove they have the recipe to give the people more for less, fraternal twins-in-rap, Evidence and The Alchemist have jumped on the short order bandwagon with their latest EPs The Layover and The Alchemist’s Cookbook respectively. Seeing that neither of the producer/MCs are the most electrifying rappers around, the technically-sound, soundmen still whip up a batch of delectable bangers that will assuredly tide hungry fans over for the time being.
At only six songs deep, The Alchemist’s Cookbook perceives to be somewhat of a copout, but instead of squandering the brief moments with less-than-memorable affairs, Alc makes the most of his preparation time with well placed cameos and his trademark grimy compositions. Whether it’s Capone-N-Noreaga chasing currency on the gritty “Follow The Dollar” or the incredibly executed “Therapy,” the production wizard leaves plenty of reminders that he’s a catalyst for a hot collaboration. He even finds time to sneak in a few bars as the collective of Nina Sky and Prodigy hold it down once more on “Key To The City.”
Meanwhile, The Layover’s decorous title not only references the fact that it’s merely a bridge towards a bigger project, but the occasional humdrum melody also causes aural jet lag throughout. The drowsiness of “The Cold Weather” and “So Fresh” which haphazardly features The Alchemist, both slow things down a bit, but Evidence compensates for the monotony with mesmeric production with some clever rhyme schemes to match. “The Far Left” and the Sid Roams-concocted “Solitary Confinement” both offer up the same hypnosis that made The Weatherman LP a fan favorite.
As expected, the production is the glue that helps Mr. Slow Flow maintain his project’s cohesiveness. The solemn euphony of “For Whom The Bell Tolls” best suites the mood as Phonte, Blu, and will.i.am recount the actions of the Grim Reaper. Ditto for The Alchemist’s Cookbook as the soothing “Calmly Smoke” is strengthened by the ingenious melody for what is simply another “I Get High” anthem for Styles P.
Short but sweet and to the point, Alchemist and Evidence don’t exactly reinvent the wheel here nor are their individual efforts heavy on substantive topics. But with the handful of dopeness they’ve brought to the table this go around, both earn tally marks in the win column for 2008.
The Alchemist’s Cookbook
The Layover EP