Larry June & Alchemist Have Released The Year’s First Masterpiece Album
On Friday (March 31), Larry June and Alchemist released The Great Escape. The album marks the pair’s first full-length together, representing a hallmark in two veteran and prolific Hip-Hop careers.
Larry June’s rise to prominence is a testament to patience and perseverance. He comes from the same Hunter’s Point section of San Francisco, California, as the RBL Posse. However, his message and delivery differ from his predecessors. The MC released Cali Grown in late 2010. The Freeminded drop featured IamSu! and Mitchy Slick. It formally kicked off a journey that included a major label stop at Warner Bros. Records, albums with Harry Fraud, and Cardo, among others, and a feature on Post Malone’s debut mixtape. Larry told The Ringer‘s Logan Murdock that he took years off of recording and struggled to make music a career lucrative enough to support his expanding family.
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However, Larry leveled up in the last five years through quality and consistency. 2019’s Out The Trunk became a pivotal solo album, containing the underground hit “Smoothies In 1991.” Larry’s impeccable beat selection gelled with his easy-glide flow and vivid descriptions. Work with Jay Worthy & LNDN DRGS as well as continued collaborations with Curren$y, further cultivated a growing audience. In 2022, Spitta and Alchemist welcomed June onto Continuance, where that chemistry bubbled.
Now, in early 2023, Al and Larry are writing new chapters to their own moment. The Great Escape is the latest in a series of top-notch collaboration albums that Alchemist has made with Boldy James, Freddie Gibbs, Armand Hammer, and Roc Marciano—among many others. As discussed on episode #104 of Ambrosia For Heads‘ What’s The Headline podcast (embedded in audio and video at the end of this post), the collection features ALC production that feels tailor-made for Uncle Larry’s flow. The album is prominently featured on Ambrosia For Heads‘ playlist:
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The album is a reminder that in 2023, content is key—as Larry’s laid-back style focuses on what he says much more than an emphasis on how he says it. “89 Earthquake” uses the interplay between a vocal sample and a piano line, with Larry spitting: “This that go hard, never quit / flow so adequate / Figured I’d sell this sh*t / I ain’t with the settlin’ / Had to get my mind right, I cut off the petty sh*t / I don’t feel right throwin’ ones, ni**a, this real-ism / Ni**a tryna block my shine, ni**a, I still get it / Really came from that cloth, ni**a, I’m built different / I ain’t takin’ no days off, I need meal tickets / Please no shoes in my loft, I’m not a dirty ni**a / Drinkin’ juice in the mornin’, calculate a hun’ / Ni**as wonder how I did it, I came from the slums / Had to put my grind in it, I ain’t stop for none / Put my thoughts on these tracks, show ’em how it’s done.“
Guests offer a lot to the album. Al’s Stepbrothers cohort Evidence splashes the song aptly titled “Left No Evidence.” E-V raps, “No second impression on first entrance / Hits when I’m swingin’ for the fences / A lot of sh*t I did, I didn’t mention / A lot of sh*t I did for no credit and good intention / A lot of sh*t I said that deaded friendship, uh / Rappers basic, they lack imagination / Backwards statements at me / God blessed me for my acts of patience / Roads that’s leading home like all the train tracks to stations / Ran through a string of queens, the king is back to aces.” On “Palisades, CA,” Big Sean fits nicely against Larry’s message of healthy living and stacking paper. “Look, if you not gettin’ richer every year, then you just backwards hustlin’ / You movin’ off emotion, I’m strategizin’, discussin’ it / See, I been on my supplements / Fish oils, chlorophyll, multi’s / My hair growin’ out and h*es lovin’ it / Some people can’t piece life together, it’s really puzzlin’ / Talkin’ ’bout ‘Trust me, I got you,’ but I’m not trustin’ it / Commercial real estate by The Fox, yeah, they constructin’ it / Business flowin’ like the symphony orchestra, I’m conductin’ it.” Other album guests include Joey Bada$$, Wiz Khalifa, Action Bronson, Slum Village, Jay Worthy, and Ty Dolla $ign.
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As discussed in What’s The Headline, this true 2023 highlight album also has depth. LP closer “Margie’s Candy House” finds Larry June examining family and regret. “Started out at Riverdale, moms flew me from the Bay / When I was young, used to hate it and grew up, then I thanked her / Far away from my pops, thinkin’ ’bout that gray McLaren / I can shed a tear on these tracks, you wouldn’t understand it / Gramps had the candy house, Margie’s on Harbor Road / Still eat me up inside that I missed her funeral / I know she lookin’ down on me while I’m in this 5.0 / I can’t lie, man, my mind gone / I was in a dark place, went hard and found a way / Livin’ out them motels, cold nights on thе blade.“