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Whenever I see The Alchemist in the credits of a project, it’s a must-listen. Despite that, he is not an easy man to keep up with. 2023 has been a hectic year for the Hip-Hop legend, dropping several collaborations this year, including ones with Roc Marciano, Domo Genesis, and Larry June. As if he hasn’t given fans enough this year, The Alchemist offered his Midas touch to New York’s MIKE and Wiki to drop another set of cold tracks. The three released “Faith is a Rock” on September 22nd, 2023.

The beats on this album were great. The Alchemist delivers his usual jazz beats that give MIKE and WIKI a proper place to flex their bars. “Stargate” opens the album with a spacey beat featuring minimalist production, allowing the sampled strings to carry the song. He uses the same production technique on “Bledsoe,” where beautiful vocalizations make up the backbone of the beat. The beats are hard to hate but suffer from monotony: some songs sound the same.

A much-needed switch-up comes near the album’s end with “Scribble Jam.” A shorter, chopped-up sample wakes up any listeners dozing off. Fortunately, the change of pace continues, especially in the following song: “Be Realistic.”

Before this album, I was unfamiliar with Wiki, only knowing him from his viral Earl Sweatshirt feature on “All I Need.” Wiki stole the show on this release, dropping insane bars on almost every song. On “Mayor’s a Cop,” the two call out NYC Mayor Eric Adams and his recent militarization of the police over a noir-inspired beat. He spits, “The mayor’s a cop, the blues quadrupled up / The block is hot, sh–, this how they chose to use the guap / With this amount of human laws / Could’ve been for schools or parks,” in a blazing inditement of the crooked politics of the city. In “Bledsoe,” Wiki comes after reviewers (like myself), dropping “It’s the critic’s biggest critic / Of course I’m cynical, how you a cynic if you never did it?”

My favorite moment from MIKE is from “Scribble Jam.” I’m obsessed with his use of forced rhymes and double entendre when he says, “She see me laughing, she think I’m growing / I used to wreak of havoc and cheap cologne / The speed it happens, the briefest moment.”

I loved this album. I knew going in that I would be impressed by the likes of MIKE and The Alchemist, but I am now a massive Wiki fan. This album is an easy listen and one I will be replaying often. The only downside is that some songs are forgettable and pass you by without noticing.

Score: 8.5

Jose Zamora

Jose Zamora is a writer and creator from Boston, MA. He has been a music nerd since middle school when he started his record collection. His passion for Hip-hop began when he discovered legends like Nas and Gang Starr and became obsessed with up-and-coming acts like Kendrick Lamar and A$AP Mob.

He is a recently graduated, up-coming journalist, passionate about music and culture. He is always keeping an eye out for the next big thing and is eager to put their talent in the spotlight for others to enjoy. He believes firmly that “Good art deserves to be talked about.”

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