Hip-hop producer the Alchemist, who has been accused by rapper Ras Kass of selling the same beat twice, says Ras' claims are off-base.
Ras Kass claims he paid the Alchemist for the music used on his "Home Sweet Home" song, which was scheduled to appear on Ras' forthcoming Van Gough and has also been featured on mix tapes from New York's DJ Kay Slay and Cornerstone Promotion. When the same instrumentation appeared on Jadakiss' "We Gon' Make It," Ras Kass attempted to block the release through his lawyers (see "Ras Kass Blasts Beat Alchemy").
The Alchemist and Ras had verbally agreed in November 1999 that the producer would supply three beats for Ras' album, according to the Alchemist. Last summer, the Alchemist whose credits include Mobb Deep, Bumpy Knuckles, Dilated Peoples and Mr. Voodoo said he found out through an associate that Ras' album, originally scheduled for an early 2000 release, had been put on hold.
The process usually works as follows: a producer is paid half of the money up front and the other half either when the work is complete or when the album is released. But after more than six months, the Alchemist said he was uncertain of the status of his work with Ras.
"Priority (Ras' label) put me on hold and left me hanging," he said. "After I got the first half, they left me on hold. ... For whatever reason, his A&Rs and whoever was related to his project was ignoring me." Then, the two met up in August at the Source Awards in Pasadena, California.
"He was like, 'Yo, I'm not f---ing with Priority anymore. I might be f---ing with Snoop, but yo, that 'Home Sweet Home' sh-- is hot. I'm running with that one for sure,'" the Alchemist said. "I'm like, 'You don't know how many artists I've shown that beat to.' He hadn't ever called me. I'd been showing it to everybody. 'Kiss was only one that was feeling it like that." After Jadakiss expressed interest in using the beat, the Alchemist said he attempted to contact Ras' representatives at Priority to let them know he was using it elsewhere.
"I tried to call everybody to let them know, but nobody wanted to return my calls," he said. "So finally when I reach him to tell him that I'm using it, I start hearing it on mix tapes. I called Priority and was like, 'Hold up, we don't have any paperwork for this.' This is a situation where the record company is f---ing it up. Now Ras Kass is heated at me. But I called Ras Kass and said, 'Forget this beat. I'll give you some new sh--. That was '99. The label played me.' They really jerked both of us.
"Now I see in the press that Ras is saying, 'I bought this beat off of Alchemist eight months ago, and he just sat around with the paperwork.' What he's talking about is eight months ago when he found out that it was coming out with somebody else, he had his lawyers send over paperwork for the production of one beat, 'Home Sweat Home,' $7,500 full payment. They just took it upon themselves to make that first half of the three beats [be] the full payment for one beat, which we never discussed. Of course, I just put that paperwork to the side. I laughed at it. I had already seen him in L.A. and told him." Calls to Priority and Ras Kass were not returned by press time, but last month Ras said, "Dude cashed the check, and now he's playing stupid." The Alchemist said he has the documentation to support his claims and blames Ras' legal team for creating the problem.
"Having found out that they loved this beat so much, they had two years to shoot paperwork over to my lawyer," the Alchemist said. "There were three beats in the deal. Nobody even wants to talk about those other two beats. What if I go sell one of those beats? He's going come out again and say that's his beat? "I tried to call Ras and extend my hand to him," he continued. "I said, 'If you want that money back, I'll give it right back because I don't want it to feel like I got over on you or your record label. I'm not trying to get over on anybody. I got beats. I wish we could just continue to work. ... It's a shame that it had to happen like this." The Alchemist isn't letting this situation affect his work. He recently produced "Connected," a song from Tha Eastsidaz's forthcoming album that features Mobb Deep and the Lady of Rage. Plus, the New Yorker's work will appear on new albums from Ghostface Killah, Fat Joe, Royce Da 5'9" and Mobb Deep.
The Alchemist will also be releasing Chemistry Files on his own Alchemy Records in mid-July, with a lead single featuring Bid Daddy Kane. Other cuts will feature Mobb Deep, Infamous Mob and Dilated Peoples.