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Chaoz da Blakjak's The Alchemizt

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The Alchemizt
Blak Beast Producshunz

I'll just lay it out: The Alchemizt kicks ass. I can't speak to his '90s output in the Hill-based Roughside or Cypha Klick, but whatever Chaoz da Blakjak's been up to over the past decade has added up on his solo debut. Currently hailing from Greensburg, Chaoz, a.k.a. Lone Starr, has already had a long career and a life that's taken him from Harrisburg to Detroit to Braddock. But it feels like he's just getting started.

Though Chaoz is a talented producer in his own right -- many of the choice cuts on this disc are his own beats -- he's recruited a slew of producers for The Alchemizt, including C-Styles and Mad Flowz, as well as numerous guest emcees. This abundance results in a slightly daunting collection of 20 tracks.

Among them, there are the obligatory odes to Pittsburgh and to hustling, but one of the things I like about Chaoz is his ability to switch into a believably playful loverman mode that blithely avoids sounding callous or like some icky Barry White ooze. Case in point: the high-speed "Bang Daddy": "For what it's worth, I hunger for whatever's under that skirt / And you know that it's gravy, sweet and soft like a pastry / ooh you make my mouth water, honey give me some tasty." Chaoz basically says, Look, you know it, and I know it: We're gonna do it. So, what do you like?

His low, monotone rap is both insinuating and direct, and rolls off in an easy, natural rhythm. On wide-open tracks like "Dirty Burgh," that voice finds its own niche in the music; on busier beats, its low timbre fights with the music that should be supporting it. But nothing stops this line: "Every nigga that I love has been behind bars, 'cause every nigga that I love is quick to leave scars / It's the way you close down, I got the steel street blues / First news the Post-Gazette or the Tribune-Review can't review."

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