Fans of his respected past beats and collaborations with grimy-ass rappers will be pleased by Alchemist's solo debut. There are more synths here than you might have expected, but they don't differ in mood from his sample-driven work, and the care and details added to each song make the beats more complicated than their initial looped simplicity might indicate. He works with many talented MCs, but there's a touch too much of D-Block as well as an unnecessary R&B jam. The skits take cues from Ghostface and Bootcamp, meaning they're entertaining, and killer appearances by Nas and Prodigy, Stat Quo and M.O.P, Dilated Peoples and Devin the Dude cement this as one of 2004's stronger releases. Not overly cohesive, but quality.