The Alchemist's high-profile work throughout the '00s with mainstream rappers like Mobb Deep and Nas often overshadows the breadth of his talents. He started as a rapper in the short-lived, hey!-they're-white duo the Whooliganz, demonstrated prowess as a digger and a DJ  with an ear for catchy music, and developed a solid handle on samplers and production under the tutelage of DJ Muggs. So, his late-'00s return to his roots by DJing Jamaican-style soundclashes with peer producer/DJ Just Blaze and releasing diverse solo albums felt like a welcome reminder. However, his 2009 collaboration with another producer/DJ Oh No on a slice of older-school, boom-bap called "Under Siege" was a sign that he had come full circle. The two built the song from soup to nuts, handling both rhymes and production. They continued the partnership, dubbing their collaborative project Gangrene, and scheduled their album Gutter Water's release in October 2010.

Oh No is an appropriate partner considering his similar aptitude in production, rapping and DJing. Often overshadowed by his older brother Madlib (another jack-of-all-trades), Oh No provides an off-beat, stutter step contrast to Alchemist's smoother, gutteral take on hip-hop. Being known primarily as producers, they appropriately invited other collaborators to spice up the project, including Raekwon, long-time friend and colleague Evidence and Guilty Simpson. The lead track to the album "Chain Swinging" can be heard on the Decon Records website here.

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