The album, out today, is a follow-up to their gritty Decon Records debut LP 'Gutter Water' and an indication of the drug-induced "spiritual journey" they've experienced while respectively sitting behind the boards and in the recording booth. Tracks like 'Livers for Sale' are eerie while 'Drink It Up' begs for listeners to take a walk into the dark side of their rap world. With collaborations from Kool G Rap and Mobb Deep's Prodigy featured over head-nodding beats, the effort is hip-hop at its core.
Read on as The Alchemist and Oh No describe their dump truck recording session, the struggle they faced while recording the project and their far-out beliefs.
What are you guys up to now since your album is complete and ready for mass consumption?
Alchemist: We're driving through the Big Sur Adirondacks. it's a remote area, where we're planning some weekly spiritual enhancement. We're just going into the jungle to get some source material so we can work on this next album.
Why did you both want to name the album, 'Vodka & Ayahuasca,' which is inspired by drugs and alcohol?
A: The thing is there's a lot of cool drugs in rap right now and a lot of cool stuff, but who is doing Ayahuasca? You know what I mean. We just want to be different so we're just gonna bring a new drug to the game.
Explain what Ayahuasca is for someone who has never heard of it or experienced it.
A: I really can't even get into that because it's so much deepness to it that they gotta go on their own journey. I'm sure they have Internet access if they're reading this. After they read this interview, they should just research Ayahuasca and venture into the wilderness of the interweb. Just check it out. While you're at, go to iTunes 'cause 'Vodka & Ayahuasca' is in stores.
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OK, so do you feel like Ayahuasca is a spiritual journey for you?
A: Absolutely. And if you mix vodka with Ayahuasca, I think you might die.
Oh No: This music is like a near-death experience.
A: But you live through it and you're better.
O: You wake up.
A: The levels of serotonin are found to be lower in the body after hard drug use, you following me. If you take Ayahuasca, the levels of serotonin are heightened after use. So this actually makes you feel better when you buy this album.
Two years ago you guys released 'Gutter Water.' So how does this project differ from the lyrical content or the beats? Is it darker for you?
A: It's definitely darker. It's more of a psychedelic trip rather than the first one, 'Gutter Water,' drinking water. You know it's bad. This one's worse but you get better with time, as you listen to it. As you go through a spiritual journey on a trip.
O: This is a journey-filled album. I definitely stepped up my lyrical format. So now you can say my lyrical format is like a miracle doormat. We brought back boomstiggety. We're not reinventing the wheel. That's what's going on now.
What track do you feel represents the album best?
A: I think the title track, 'Vodka & Ayahuasca,' embodies the full, enriched flavor of the product. I think you should stare at the album cover and try not to blink the whole time. Get really close to the album cover and put on the song, 'Vodka & Ayahuasca,' and slowly, as the song progresses, slowly not blink and back up. Then you'll experience a little bit of an enriched state. It's like meditation kinda. That's why we use loops because loops are repetitive. Like when the Shaman is giving his "ahh" [chant], it's repetition. That's what we're doing, we're bringing you repetition. It's mad hip-hop. I'm looking out the car right now and I see cows. Just to give you an idea of the kind of s--- we're giving.
There's a song you have with Prodigy called 'Dump Truck.' How did that come about?
O: We sent him a kite, a bird with a CD on his ankle. Flew it to New York. P, I don't know where he did his verse, but we like to keep it authentic. We actually did the rhyme inside a dump truck. Some rappers front. If the song is called 'Dump Truck,' there's going to be something involving a dump truck.
What made you want to record the song in the dump truck?
A: It's unique. It gives off a metallic "wang" [sound]. The acoustic of the metal is a certain peptide they use in the acoustic of the dump truck. It's a natural reverb basically. We simulated by going inside the dump truck. I was thinking of copping a dump truck just to push through the city.
Did you have any struggles while recording this album?
O: The only struggles was just waiting on the weed man.
A: It's real easy working with Oh No. Everything he does is funky fresh, super dope, techtronic. I just fall in. It's an easy job for me. A lot of the records he brought to the table with the verse already laid out. So I just had to fall into formation and do my job.
Oh No, you collaborated with Kool G Rap on 'Gladiator Music.' What was that like working with him?
O: Ahh, man, that was the illest ever. I look at him like he's the best. It was extra crazy. Can't get no better than that. When you smoke to it too, you can't get no better than that.
Is there anyone in 2012 that you're checking for?
O: I don't know. Who's knew? Kendrick Lamar? He's tight. Action Bronson. The dude's a genuine guy. His flows are sick. From everything I heard, he's sick. He's on that raw s---.
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