Armand Hammer & The Alchemist – Haram

Goddamn. I said God-Day-Um!

This is a braided rope of holy shit. The threads are: The Alchemist, ELUCID, and Billy Woods. And with these three put together they’re stronger than they are on their on — now that’s a fucking collaboration.

If you’ve been on this site before, then you know I fangirl like a motherfucker over anything Billy Woods touches. If he was an elevator, I’d be a fan of buttons. If he was a dirty hand? The ground meat in your meatballs. An insomniac? The screen of a smartphone. A priest? Choirboys. A proctologist? The ground meat in your meatballs. You picking up what I’m putting down here? If Billy Woods is there, I’m there with bells on hoping he signs my tits. 

Some rappers break down their shit into digestible pieces that a dog could figure out. “You can’t cancel the truth!” What truth are they talking about? Who the fuck knows, but sure sounds like a nice anthem for entitled motherfuckers to chant whenever they feel pressured to change. This isn’t Billy. Naw. Billy’s on a whole different kind of level. While young thugs tat up their faces with memes, Billy is out there creating high-end art the likes of which would make Saul Williams, MF Doom, and James Joyce blush and hope to get their tits signed.

That’s right, picture James Joyce’s perky set of sweater melons slung inside a pushup swinging like those metal balls on a psychiatrist desk just aching for a tap from Billy’s sharpy pen. That’s how deep and thick these lyrics are.

You’re not gonna be able to catch all these lyrics on the first listen. Shit, the meaning behind that album cover probably passed you by. Pigs. Pigs. OH ya! Cops. But wait, Haram is an Arabic term that is about everything forbidden by Islam including pork. Huh? That’s right. Shit’s deep. Just check out these references anything pig in the song Chicharrones (which is the name of fried pork rinds).

“Got caught with the pork but you gotta kill the cop in your thoughts still sayin’ pause. Negroes say they hate the cops but, the minute somethin’ off, they wanna use force.”

“It’s one nigga who nice (Yup), the rest sausages. Got caught with the hog leg but you gotta kill the cop in your head. The officer in your mind, red handed, the chicharrones was chili and lime.”

Here they not only continue the use of the pig theme with cops, but then throw some big bad wolf imagery from the nursery rhyme, The Three Little Pigs.

“If you off the pig is you offin’ pigs or offerin’ figs. Oh you big and bad? Blowin’ hay and sticks, huffin’ bricks. Clip the snout (Snout), to spite the mouth (Mouth). Write the lips, put it on the spit. Pig roast, who got jokes? Fryers for the skin (Skin). Cold swine shoulders get the smoke. Oh you big and bad? Soo wee.”

This shit is laden with meaning and double meaning. It even samples David Lynch talking about the semi-consciousness of daydreaming and Little Richard talking about Jimi Hendrix IN THE SAME SONG!

A question I often hear about Armand Hammer is, why? Why do they make it so dense? Why don’t they say it how it is? I’ve heard people bitch about this shit from the start. They want their songs to be more “accessible.” Honestly? It pisses me off. Cause just think about that request for a second: John Donne’s poem, The Good-Morrow, is so knee deep in double meaning and allusions it’s like walking through wet quicksand in an outdoor club after Covid in the middle of winter and nobody, and I mean fucking nobody, is asking Donne to be accessible. People stand up to the challenge and meet that shit face-to-face. Why? Cause it’s fucking art, that’s why. Because it’s evolved fucking language. Shakespeare was able to change the English language for the better because people approached his shit with their heads held high. Dude invented around 1700 words, most of which we still use today, because people met his challenge. We express ourselves and think better for it. We understand ideas we never did before and are more evolved creatures because of it. So, why the fuck is it that when some old white dude with a PhD starts using double meaning it’s poetry and when it’s young black men it should be more accessible?

Ya, I fucking went there, so what? Like tatted up faced rappers and Bill Maher like to remind me, you can’t cancel the truth.

Rap evolves language, always has. And what regular kids talk about and how they talked about it would’ve been considered gangster rap back in the ’80s. They’re talking about more diverse issues with a greater depth. And they’re able to express ideas with a greater understanding and empathy. But rap is easy to pigeonhole. It’s easy to put into a box and keep over there. But it’s a whole other thing to put on a pot of tea, wear thick ass glasses, and throw on those heavy head cans to analyze this shit the way motherfuckers do with John Donne. But, make no mistake, this is fucking art. Meaning, if you stand up to the challenge and meet this album face-to-face you’ll be better for it, it’ll evolve you. It’ll change your language. It’ll change your thinking. So, put the album on and listen through as many times as it needs. It’s fucking worth it. After you do, I’ll be seeing your tits at the signing table. 

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