A Dilated Peoples member and a renowned producer, Evidence and Alchemist, respectively, have teamed up to form the duo Step Brothers. The longtime friends go way back when it comes to the rap scene, L.A.’s scene in particular, and with the release of their debut album Lord Steppington, these brothers from other mothers have created a unique sound unlike anything they’ve previously done. Lord Steppington’s first single, “Step Masters,” dropped last November and after much anticipation, Rhymesayers released the album January 21. Already earning a spot in the top 30 on iTunes, this LP proves these OGs of the rap game can only go up from here. Featuring tracks with Action Bronson, Domo Genesis, Roc Marciano and more, the album has a fresh, alternative, almost street sound to it. And it’s wryly funny.
In an interview with probably two of the most slyly funniest guys ever, we were able to chat with Alchemist and Evidence about this new chapter of their careers, how Lord Steppington really came to be, and their favorite projects of 2013. There’s a lot of sarcasm in this interview, so read closely.
RESPECT: You guys are childhood friends and you’ve worked together many times in the past. How did you guys first meet?
Alchemist: Well Evidence used to work at the Swedish Auto Clinic on Lincoln Boulevard. Ev used to work there, he was a mechanic and it all started from there.
So this being you guys’ first album together, what was it like not really having any creative restriction on Lord Steppington?
Evidence: Well, Brother Ali pretty much told Alchemist how to do the shit.
Alchemist: We owe a lot to Ali. He handed us a manuscript with some mad cadences and Ev transcribed them. He had a whole new cache of rhyme patterns once he came back from Europe.
Evidence: I’m into how the brain correlates with the voice. You can like rap left-footed or left-handed and it can really make a difference on your performance. Like if you rap with your left hand versus your right. Or with your right foot first or your left foot first. It’s basically like, if you use your left hand first you’re sharper, like you’re on the beat more. But if you use your right hand, more emotion comes out. So you gotta choose, do I want to be tighter on the rhythm or do I want to be a little sloppier but have more emotion with the right hand? The same applies to the feet.
So what would you say you guys’ style is then? What to do you tend to do when you’re rapping?
Evidence: I don’t know, like I’ve re-done tapes and been like man, I need to go re-do that left -handed because it was tight with the emotion, but then I didn’t hit the beat right. On the stage, I switch.
For Lord Steppington, did you both work on the beats or maybe one of you worked more on the lyrics? How did you divide everything up?
Alchemist: Brother Ali did most of it, I just controlled the machine so it was basically his input. He did the beats as well as the rhymes when you break it down.
Evidence: Slug did the hooks.
Alchemist: So the whole family did it, it’s like Rhymesayers across the map.
So when did you two really decide to create the album? Had you been thinking about doing it for a while?
Alchemist: I looked at Brother Ali to the left and he just gave me this nod. It was like a mafia nod. Like you know when they make the nods for a hit? And I just knew it was a sign that we had to make an album.
Do you think your work with say Dilated Peoples or any of your other past projects influenced the sound of Lord Steppington? Did you guys try to go for something totally different?
Evidence: I think it was different. The apartment in Amsterdam, when we did a lot of it there, it just didn’t feel like L.A. The Netherlands is different from L.A. The sun’s not out all day, it gets dark early, we were looking at red light shit everyday. It was just a different vibe.
So you released “Step Masters” as the first single back in November. What made you pick Step Masters as the single?
Evidence: It’s the only track that doesn’t have drums. We just wanted something different. Because everyone’s beats are always crashing, so it was more of check us out and you’ll get to the bangers when you get the record.
Alchemist: The track was co-produced by Twiz the Beat Pro. He’s the human version of a skeleton. He’s crazy skinny but he makes funky beats. He’s ill.
Evidence: Terrible name, great producer.
Alchemist: Great producer, great guy, on the come-up. Looks malnourished but funky.
Are you planning on releasing another single anytime soon?
Evidence: I think we are going to perform, go to Europe in these next two weeks and perform the album and see which songs react the best. I think we’ll be able to judge it off of that.
Alchemist: Did you hear the album? What should be the single?
Alchemist: We are going to do incentives with every single from now on. Like this next single comes with a piece of gefilte fish. No ones ever done that. We’re going to make that possible. Free pickled tomatoes with the album.
Where did the title Lord Steppington come from?
Alchemist: He’s Evidence’s old au pair. He’s his old house sitter. You know, Evidence grew up in an English breakfast setting so we just wanted to dedicate it to the guy that used to look out for his house.
This is kind of a difficult question but now that 2013 is over, if you had to pick, what was the best mixtape or album of the year?
Evidence: 2013, my favorite album was Kanye West interviews.
Alchemist: Hmmm, Blue Chips 2, Action Bronson. Best mixtape of the year.
Evidence: And Ready to Die by Biggie Smalls. If you revisit it. Alchemist is a big Yeezus supporter.
Alchemist: Yeezus like shaped me in a way. I was going one direction and when I heard Yeezus, I just had to pump the breaks. Praise Yeezus. It was a brilliant work of art. It was a moment that he captured in all its splendor in electronified brilliance.
So what can listeners expect to see from Step Brothers in the near future? Any tours planned?
Evidence: No, we are doing the no promotion, less is greater thing.
Oh, kind of like the whole Beyonce secret album thing?
Evidence: No we are literally trying to see how many records we can’t sell.
Alchemist: Be completely non-existent. We book the shows we just don’t show up.
Evidence: We were like platinum before we even came out. We’re kind of some ill.
Alchemist: I sold a million props last year. My props went platinum last year. You wouldn’t believe how many prop units I moved.
The regular and deluxe version with bonus tracks and a digital booklet is available for download on iTunes. Or check out a stream of the entire album below.
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