Durag Dynasty is a collaboration album between West Coast emcees Planet Asia, Killer Ben and TriState and producer/emcee The Alchemist. The album is produced entirely by Alchemist and features appearances from Prodigy (of Mobb Deep), Phil The Agony, Evidence, Imam Thug, Chance Infinite and Big Twinz. The album was released on March 26th, 2013 through Nature Sounds.
1) The Next One (Intro) - Just a skit. Next.
2) Durag Dynasty Theme - The album starts off with a hard hitting beat that will get your head nodding. Planet Asia kicks off the first verse with TriState and Killer Ben coming next. I'm familiar with Planet Asia's previous work, but this is my first time hearing TriState and Killer Ben. Both of them sound fine and Planet Asia brings it as usual. Dope song and a good way to start out the album.
3) Tender Greens - The beat on here is crazy and sounds like some looped up 50's soul sample. Killer Ben comes first
"Again, the killer is BenThe lyrics are not mind-blowing, but they are dope and everyone's flow is on point. This track is absolute fire.
Spit fire, backspit phlegm
Spit shining gems, but I ain't buying that
You want a leak don't cha
Download it free wont'cha
Before you know it pop pop
That's when the blood soaked ya."
4) Fish Meat (featuring Prodigy) - Prodigy hooks back up with Alchemist and the result is quite good. The beat is darker than the previous few tracks and Prodigy actually sounds right at home over it. Planet Asia and TriState come through with the other verses. This is dope, but the previous track is the standout so far.
5) 360 Waves - This is one of the singles off the album and recently scored a video.
Killer Ben's verse was cut from the video since he was in jail when it was shot, but the song is still dope. The beat is real laid-back and has very little drums. I'm feeling TriState the most on this one:
"Egyptian cloth, solid gold crossAround 3 minutes in we get a movie sample from the same movie that Ghostface Killah samples on the intro to Wildflower. After that, the beat switches up to what sounds like a crazy muffled electric guitar loop and elevates the energy a bit compared to the first half of the track. The song is 6 minutes in total, but its fire all the way through.
Tabernacle talk, lo and behold when shells bark
Leave you bitten, snoopin in the garden of the hidden
False prophets plagiarize lines of my written"
6) Trailer Mix (featuring Phil The Agony) - The sample on this song is banging and everyone rips it. I haven't heard much from Phil the Agony in a while, but he kills it. This album is crazy so far. The beats are much more consistent than on some of Alchemists recent projects.
7) Spiral Event (featuring Evidence) - The instrumental on this track uses the same sample as Ghostface Killahs Buck 50 (off of his classic Supreme Clientele), but Alchemist flips it differently. Evidence has always sounded great over Alchemist beats and doesn't misstep here. This track is flames.
8) Yasir Arafat (Prelude) - I thought this song was going to be a skit, but it isn't. Instead its a insanely dope vocal loop by Alchemist with all three emcees spitting a few lines. The track is only a minute and a half long, but its banging. I wish it was longer, but it blends right into the next track.
9) Yasir Arafat - The beats on this album are fire, but this one may be the best yet. The instrumental incorporates the vocal sample from the previous track, but blends it with a bunch of other layers. TriState and Killer Ben are impressing me on here. They are not crazy lyrical, but they have great flows and rhyme schemes. I have not heard a single verse yet that sticks out as being terrible.
10) Tetrahydrons on Mars (featuring Chance Infinite) - Alchemist just took us to outer space with this instrumental. I was waiting for Planet Asia to rip this, but I didn't hear him on here. That's ok though, since TriState, Killer Ben and Chance Infinite hold their own.
"This ain't a rhyme, I map the stars when you hear me rapThis is fire.
Master of the plethora's, night of the non sequitors
Somehow you'll understand the point no matter how complex it is
It's all freedom
This expressive behemoth is in tune with mathematics
I'm walking through tetrahydrons on Mars"
11) Goon Call (featuring Imam Thug) - I was not expecting to see an Imam Thug appearance on here despite the fact that Alchemist produces for Mobb Deep, Infamous Mobb and a slew of other QB artists. Regardless, this song is dope. The beat gets a tad repetitive, but that's the only gripe I have with it. I still wish we would have gotten an Iron Sheiks album though.
12) Bigger U Are the Harder You Fall (featuring Big Twinz and The Alchemist) - Speaking of Infamous Mobb, Big Twinz shows up to rip this ill vocal sample. I always thought he was a standout member of IM3, and not just because of his unique voice. The Alchemist has never really impressed me with his mic skills, but he sounds pretty good on here and Planet Asia does his thing. Dope track.
13) Shooters - Out of all the songs on the album, this is the song that I'm feeling the least. It's not bad, but the beat is not quite up to the standard set by the rest of the LP. The lyrics are ok, but I just can't get into this. Maybe it will grow on me later.
14) Luxury Whip - Well this is much better. The beat on here is nuts with an ill string sample and some funky drums. Very smooth. The lyrics are full of whip references and braggadocio rhymes. This is really dope.
15) Funyons -The album closes out with a spacey instrumental that will get your head nodding. All three emcees rip it and left me wanting more.
"Your brain bother me, need a lyric lobotomyThis is banging. The album definitely ends on a high note.
Acting tough as nails, but you frail as the economy"
I'm going to rate the album a
4 / 5
because there is maybe one track (Shooters) that I'm not feeling. Given more time, I can see this jumping up to a 4.5 / 5 quite easily. The beats are crazy throughout and having one producer helps to lend a consistent feel to the album. I was really only familiar with Planet Asia before this, but now I feel like I should check out Killer Ben and TriStates previous work since all three of them go in on here. None of the lyrics are mind blowing, per se, but all three have dope flows, great mic presence and good chemistry. I'd HIGHLY recommend this album to any hip-hop fan. Don't sleep on this. Pick it up on iTunes or via the Amazon link below.