The Alchemist and Boldy James are back, with a brief but decent album with a few special moments.
Boldy James and The Alchemist already collaborated on one of the better hip-hop albums of the year in August with Bo Jackson, an album full of great beats (and a wide range of them, too), strong verses and a gathering of features from some of the best rappers currently working, but it appears that that wasn’t enough for the ambitious pair as already they have released another album.
Granted, this record is much shorter and less ambitious, but it remains a decent listen. Surprisingly, the standout verse from this album comes from the one and only feature across the project – IceColdBishop, who I wasn’t familiar with before, appears on the third track ‘Hot Water Tank’. With his strange Danny Brown-esque vocal inflections matched with his horrorcore inspired verse, he delivers a fantastic verse that acts as a great contrast point from Boldy James’ more relaxed and deeper-toned delivery.
The other standout is James’ closing verse on ‘Moth In The Flame’,the longest song on the album which sees Boldy reflect on gang violence in a uniquely direct way that appears almost de-sensitised to the reality of that situation, but remains shocking to listen to. The Alchemist’s production, as usual, is distinct and flavourful as here he loosens up on his use of drums – for example, the only percussion on the wonderful instrumental for ‘No Laughing Matter’ comes at the end of the loop with a brief cymbal crash, whilst outside of that the samples fill in that position.
It has been a hectic year for both of the artists responsible for this project – The Alchemist has released four albums and three EPs at the same time as also producing another handful of projects, whilst Boldy James has released two records and has had an insane number of featured verses, including one appearance on Griselda’s hit Hitler Wears Hermes 8: Sincerely, Adolf by Westside Gunn.
One can’t help but think of Bo Jackson and wish that a little more time was taken before releasing this, as at only 25 minutes it feels a little slight in comparison to the far more immersive and nuanced album that we now know Boldy is capable of. It isn’t a bad record by any means, but in comparison to Bo Jackson and even Manger on McNichols from 2020 it lacks the higher quality that Boldy James has been making himself known for. It’s just an average album, with some special moments that elevate it somewhat and ensure that it remains worth listening to.
Super Tecmo Bo is now streaming. It is distributed by ALC, The Alchemist’s label. Listen below: