At the end of April, legendary producer The Alchemist released a new EP titled This Thing Of Ours. With four songs and a star-studded feature list that includes names like Earl Sweatshirt, Boldy James, and Pink Siifu, will Uncle Al be able to make his best extended play yet?
Through these four songs, Al’s memorizing loops create the perfect score for these underground titans to unravel their thoughts over. “This Thing Of Ours” is generally a term used by those within the Italian-American subculture popularly known as the mafia, but here, Alan and crew use this phrase to depict and showcase their lives as working-class rappers. “TV Dinners” emphasizes this concept through its brief monologue from the one and only Tony Soprano. In this spoken word segment between verses, the fictional crime boss describes his crew or, in the case of the song, rappers; as soldiers. Drawing this comparison, it makes you ask what’s the point of this messaging? Diving into the lyrics, it’s still hard to draw up a clear meaning, but through verses such as Boldy’s and Maxo’s on “Holy Hell,” it’s clear these hip-hop visionaries live their lives in constant fear and danger, just like the mob does.
This isn’t the only time we hear the voice of Soprano as on the closer “Loose Change,” he excretes the phrase “I need a piece of this, about this small”. Here, this engaging concept continues to become more apparent through Earl Sweatshirt’s wartorn pen that paints the picture of the competitive and endangered environment that our world is today. Over and over again, Sweatshirt repeats the phrase “save a generous slice for me,” which can be interpreted as him praying for protection in this field where many just like him are buried six feet under.
Through its chilling concept, peak performances, and masterful production, This Thing Of Ours is easily the best EP that’s dropped this year. Alchemist has done it yet again, and the way he’s able to get so much out of everyone from his newer protegees like Navy Blue and Sideshow to his long-time collaborators in Earl Sweatshirt and Boldy James is mind-boggling. Walking away from another Uncle Al project, and it’s safe to say his goat case has gotten even stronger.
- Alchemist’s production is A-1 as usual
- Production and featured guests focused songwriting makes for a great concept that compares being a rapper to being in the mafia
- Not one but two Earl Sweatshirt features
- Maxo and Navy Blue sound better than ever
- If made a full-length project, could potentially be an all-time great hip hop record
- As an EP, the ceiling is only so high