Review: Prodigy and Alchemist – Albert Einstein

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For people that listen to hip-hop today, Mobb Deep may not be a group that comes to mind when you say “groundbreaking.” However, for old fans of the genre (and hip-hop traditionalists), Mobb Deep was one of the top pioneering hip-hop groups of the 90’s with their classics The Infamous and Hell On Earth.

A lot has happened since the 90’s, both for the Infamous Mobb and the hip-hop landscape. For one, Prodigy has served a three year jail sentence within the last decade; not to mention the beef that occurred between Mobb Deep and Jay-Z, as well as a less than smart move to sign with G-Unit.

These factors, among many others, would leave people to believe that Prodigy has lost his spark. However, if this album does not prove Prodigy’s skills as a lyricist, it most certainly proves his longevity as a hip-hop pioneer. Albert Einstein is a smart, well-crafted and dark hip-hop project that stands out as one of the most gripping rap albums this year.

As a MC, Prodigy has never been one to display complex word schemes or metaphors, however, ever since his early beginnings, he has been a master storyteller. That has not changed on Albert Einstein, with the Queensbridge native spitting some sinister lines over even more sinister production. He even boldly states on the track “Give ‘Em Hell”, “Nobody can stop me/I’m the illest rapper, probably on the Earth”. While many individuals would get riled up by a line like that, there is no debating that Prodigy is a master of delivery and making his presence felt on a track.

Another example is on the track “Confessions”, where Prodigy is taking the role of a gunmen, stating that he “Put pieces of her wig on the seats in the back”. The guest MC’s on the album, such as Raekwon and Roc Marciano, serve their purpose as well; they give a nice change of pace as far as the rapping goes, but never go so far as to outshine Prodigy on his own project.

While most of the rapping on the album is performed above par, the production (entirely done by The Alchemist), is where the album absolutely shines. Prodigy’s hardcore East Coast flow would have felt repetitive if it weren’t for The Alchemist minor chord synth, soul and soundtrack samples, all of which are blended together to near perfection. Just listen to the chopped vocal samples on “Give ‘Em Hell” and the synth-arpeggios on the second half of “Bible Paper”. Tracks such as these are what make Albert Einstein a great album. No need for “pop appeal” or “hits”, just raw, unadulterated hip-hop.

Favorite Tracks: “Give ‘Em Hell”, “Confessions”, “Raw Forever”, “Say My Name”
Not-So-Favorite Tracks: “Curb Ya Dog”, “Bear Meat”

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