Release Date: Jan 21, 2014
Record label: Rhymesayers Entertainment
Genre(s): Rap, Pop/Rock, Underground Rap, Hardcore Rap
Having worked together in the past, most notably on Dilated Peoples, The Alchemist and Evidence combine again for this aristocratic-themed effort that’s among the best work either of them has produced. Dark in palette with a strong collection of grimy, sinister productions (mostly by Alchemist, with Evidence dominating the rhymes), it’s light in lyrical tone, with plenty of royalty themed skits and an impressive roster of guests, including Action Bronson, Roc Marciano, Blu and Oh No. It all gives the sense of a fun, messy but inspired recording session conducted in a fug of weed smoke.
Get MC/producer Evidence and producer/MC the Alchemist together and that's a "true hip-hop" pedigree that goes from Dilated Peoples to Mobb Deep, but Step Brothers is nearly as wacky as the Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly film from which the duo's project borrows its name. Big difference is that no one would step to these Brothers without expecting both a left to the gut and a right to the chin, as Alchemist's beats remain the kind of stuff that injects machismo into Shady Records and G-Unit releases, while both members deliver their lines as true Dons, even when quoting Dire Straits' "Money for Nothing" during the great "Dr.
Trumpet loops aren't the only thing hip-hop artists have borrowed from jazz musicians. While posse cuts and guest verses have long been rap-album staples, increasingly emcees and producers have been linking up for concentrated collaborative side projects, allowing rhyme junkies to benefit from what-if dream teams. Friends since youth and coworkers since Alchemist began supplying Evidence's group, Dilated Peoples, with bangers, Lord Steppington heralds the official joint effort between two of L.
In the 2008 comedy Step Brothers, lead characters Brennan Huff and Dale Doback can alternately be found wearing tuxedos to a job interview, tea-bagging a drum set and filming a Rap video entitled “Boats ‘N Hoes.” There are no Academy Award aspirations, but the film serves as a cult classic of sorts by providing a vehicle for the slapstick, improvisational comedy of actors Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly. It’s random and crude at times, but fully appreciated by its intended audience.
Step Brothers (Evidence & Alchemist) :: Lord SteppingtonRhymesayers EntertainmentAuthor: Grant JonesEvidence has gone from strength to strength since breaking out of Dilated Peoples with his solo albums getting steadily more and more polished. Dilated have always had that clean, thumping production that earned them mainstream success in the early 2000s, and Evidence has maintained this momentum with slow flows over self-produced speaker splitting backdrops. He's an excellent producer, but Alchemist is clearly an influence.
The Alchemist and Evidence are old friends—they’ve known each other since the early 90s. Each is a rapper and a producer, and both are dedicated students of the rap game with a preternatural awareness of the history and context of their art that endows the music they create together with additional meaning. The pair bring that shared understanding to their new project Lord Steppington, a welcome addition to the collection of solid boom-bap rap albums that Alchemist has helmed over the last few years.
In a world of MP3 downloads and digital music offerings, it’s refreshing to see a release that puts a lot of work into the physical copy. Rhymesayers Entertainment and the creative minds of Alchemist and Evidence came together to create the brilliant packaging for the collaborative record Lord Steppington. Both the CD and the vinyl come in a velvet slipcase with grandiloquent inner workings.
It's a force of habit now that before hearing something you try and find out about it, eliminate mystery for the security of prejudice. I'm gratified that most of what I've read from the two genii involved here, Dilated People's verbal tactician Evidence and underground legend producer Alchemist is totally nebulous, pisstakey, and unrevealing. According to Alch, Lord Steppington is "very British-inspired so it's a lot of tea drinking, scones, and Benny Hill episodes.
To say the Step Brothers have been a long time coming would be a gross understatement, at least by music industry standards. Rapper/producers Alchemist and Evidence have been tight since high school, and initially announced their formation as the Step Brothers back in 2008. Over five full years later, the duo have delivered their first album in Lord Steppington—an album with plenty of expectant qualities, but lacking in polish—shocking, considering the recording time taken.