Recommended Listening: Armand Hammer and The Alchemist - Haram
There was a lot of incredible music released last week, but here at DC, we thought that three albums rose to the top. Because we are so strapped for time due to other personal and professional obligations, but are also unwilling to ignore any of our three selections, we've come up with a plan. Each album will get its own "mini review" this week - just a few words typed out as the album replays. Since Armand Hammer and The Alchemist's Haram runs 39 minutes from start to finish, that's the exact amount of time we'll be taking to craft our thoughts about this all-star collaboration.
Armand Hammer, the duo of E L U C I D and billy woods, grabbed our attention last year with Shrines. Maybe it was their impressive list of collaborators which included Pink Siifu, KeiyaA, Quelle Chris, Akai Solo, Earl Sweatshirt, and Moor Mother. Maybe is was the the duo's natural interplay. Maybe is was that fucking awesome album cover. Whatever it was that hooked us, we were into it. So when their follow-up was announced as a collaboration with legendary producer The Alchemist, our expectations rocketed sky high. And Haram met them.
First, we gotta appreciate the old-school nostalgia that runs through this album. For my fellow 90's kids out there who grew up on West Coast rap, who followed the Wu-Tang diaspora, who remember what No Way Out-era Puff Daddy's ill-advised crooning sounded like: you're gonna like Haram. You can hear Murder Was the Case hum in Roaches Don't Fly, woozy Tical production in God's Feet, and a belted-out melody (a la Diddy) in Stonefruit. Part of Haram's allure is how The Alchemist so expertly references the past while also sitting in the present and deferring to E L U C I D and billy woods' artistry (who even get into throwback references, themselves, with all of the Iverson talk).
And time's up! Guess that's what exactly 39 minutes of DC writing looks like - too much time spent in context and not enough in actual appreciation. Listen to the album for yourself, linked here, and catch a favorite track below. We really loved it and didn't do it justice with this write-up, but that's how it goes. We'll see what we can do with a 27-minute mini-review tomorrow. Yikes.