Opening with the single “Nobles” that features both Earl Sweatshirt and Navy Blue, there are moments where the Alchemist excels at orchestration and formation. These moments are heavy and incredibly fluent throughout This Thing Of Ours. Featuring some of the greatest voices in rap as of now, the poetry is a step away from the more blinged raps of his Griselda features or the likes of his instrumental work as The Food Villain.
As “Nobles” opens up through sunshine, the piece begins with a rising from the brimstone to a narrow escape from certain death. Earl Sweatshirt and Navy Blue encapsulate the spirit of surviving here and seeing another morning.
They trade verses through “Nobles” as described by Blue’s first words, “Depths of the man that I was from the start. Stay next to the fam, got a place in my heart, chest breath on demand.” As Sweatshirt pulls in with pride behind his words, Earl floats off the track and becomes nearly ethereal with the angelic instrumentation behind him. He illustrates, “The rest of the plan got scrapped when I landed, invested in arts. I do less when I stretch ‘fore I hit the bar.”
Alchemist continues to hold an immediate association to his production style by either using The Neverending Story or Sopranos samples that are iconic within themselves. As the beat winds down and turns into “TV Dinners” with Sideshow and Boldy James, there is a method of intricate rhymes that coincide within the stack of loosened street jazz that plays in the late night. It is based all on these rhythms that hold immediate attraction to the smoke-filled bars and endless moons over the mind.
Later pieces like “Holy Hell” that feature Maxo and Pink Siifu are blinding with wordplay and take time to digest through each listen. Even after hearing This Thing Of Ours over nearly 50 times, the shortened length still could result in hours of dissection. Pink Siifu who has slowly worked his way into being a personal favorite gives outstanding delivery with each verse becoming a direct flow of consciousness.
He moves on to describe, “Seeing shit on the screen, dead faces, ain’t none of ‘em green. Lord what I need, might drop me a seed. Hustle, repeat, dragging my feet, hell on my back.” As the production becomes more warped to match Siifu’s psyche, it becomes necessary to embrace that lucidity through his words.
Becoming numb to the direction, Maxo tag teams to describe, “We all soldiers, we all know it my nigga, weight on our shoulders. We still prevail, it’s emotions my nigga. Just love the moment my nigga.” Maxo who performs through a stoned guise moves further to say, “I stand alone, see the spite, separate that from myself. At times I’ve Grown, least I claimed I did.”
And when that final plate of soul comes to the table, Alchemist continues to push forward as a lighthouse in the seas of hip-hop. He’s given many artists a stable way home and back to the shores of safety while still embracing the ocean’s dangerous ways.