The producer is one of the most crucial yet anonymous figures in all of music. Every other week, with Beat Construction, an extension of our column in the magazine, we aim to illuminate the role producers are playing in creating some of our favorite music. This week’s subject, The Alchemist, should need no introduction, with heavyweight collaborators like Lil Wayne, Nas, Eminem, Mobb Deep and Curren$y padding his resume. Alc’s new album, Russian Roulette, is set to drop next week, with guest shots from the likes of Danny Brown, Schoolboy Q and Action Bronson. So, naturally, he took some time out to talk to us about Das EFX, turkey bacon and Australian money.
Yeah. I think… You become so accustomed to letting the screen tell you what’s going on when making electronic music, rather than your ears. Rick doesn’t touch any equipment or anything, he’s just in his ears. I think that’s key. Not being constrained by little blocks on a screen.
“I went to UC Santa Cruz and majored in film and American studies. Everybody smoked weed and lived in the trees and loved hummus. Being around that environment didn’t change me, I didn’t come back not wearing sock and shoes, but it was really different from growing up in a city. It made me more aware of things and kinda like, Oh okay, this is cool. That was a big part of my progression in music—I realized that music is universal and everyone can relate to it regardless of content, because it’s all truth if it comes from the heart.
Over time, I’ve realized more and more that it’s not about quantity. It’s just quality. I don’t want to be that dude making 100 beats a month. I want to make maybe 10 great ones that go to someone and become great songs.”
“I remember I was in a studio session with a lot of people and Drake came by. He was gonna go get a water, and he was like, “Yo anybody want water?” and got a tray. My friends were really surprised that this guy was just carrying in water. They expected him to act like somebody rich and famous would act. He’s really humble and does nice things for people all the time. He’s the same old guy.”