Review: Larry June & The Alchemist, ‘The Great Escape’

Two minimalist masterminds mingle on The Great Escape, flaunting the grandeur of West Coast producer royalty and cool palm-tree raps.

Prior to the placement of “Breakfast in Monaco” on Larry June’s last solo effort, Spaceships on the Blade, nobody would have ever imagined what a Larry June and Alchemist record would sound like. It wasn’t until a mutual contact in the likes of LA-native, Jay Worthy, would link the two together for the first time, discovering a variety of similarities in differing lifestyles. The two would hit it off early and begin paving the path for what could be a potential opportunity for growth and exposure into new realms.

The Great Escape takes on the task of meshing the unmatched hustle of Larry June with the musical genius of The Alchemist, fusing the two previously contrasting styles in an effort to build a new foundation.

Photography: @ripmiggs

The repertoire of Larry June typically consists of the same notions with special factors sprinkled in. It’s always enjoyable hearing Larry’s new musical take on his wealthy lifestyle and health consciousness; however, this time around, the blueprint is different. The Great Escape continues to flaunt the marvelous wonders of Uncle Larry’s financial literacy advice in doses with a good chunk of the record digging deep in the trenches for its subject matter. If the soundtrack to Larry’s life wasn’t already a movie in itself, the Frisco native takes it further and really hones in on minor dramatic tones on certain tracks, adding a cinematic touch to the record.

Delving deeper into the music, The Great Escape is unlike anything we’ve ever heard from both Larry June and The Alchemist. The atmosphere that the pair construct throughout the record is heavy, playing into the street dream profile from a completely different angle. Larry’s luxurious statue continuous to play a poignant role in the lyrical content coexisting with Al’s dreary style of production. In some cases, the shift in sound allows Larry to hop into different pockets that normally wouldn’t have been possible. Tracks like “Orange Village” and “Exito” play into this notion as we see Larry open up his palette to loops and chops that otherwise wouldn’t have really clicked with his catalog.

Alchemist is always a reliable teammate to have behind the boards as we see the underground pioneer continue to challenge his colleagues with his unusual approach to production. What we’ve come to expect with collaborative efforts like these are one artist building upon the pre-existing foundation of whom they work with. However, with The Great Escape we witness an impasse as Larry and Alchemist bridge the gap between both worlds and meet halfway for the blueprint to this project. This record is the perfect collision between two completely differing styles, building into a new soundscape in the process.

What was once perceived as an unusual pairing of artists has resulted in one of the most ambitious crossovers in the genre today. The two minimalist masterminds managed to lock in and harness a new energy through the combination of contrasting styles. In some ways, you could say this record is assisting in the expansion of modern-day lifestyle rap, allowing the sub-genre to diverge into new areas away from the trap-heavy, bass-knocking fields. This record radiates a calm and collected vibe that exists away from the camaraderie. This is the definitive grey area where the worlds of Larry June and Alchemist are able to meet and build, playing into the laidback persona of both creatives.

Realistically, if you aren’t already familiar with either resumes of Larry June and Alchemist, then The Great Escape is a great pick to really capture the essence of the individualities of the pair. This record is a major standout in an ocean of primetime music drops and is projected to shine as the crown jewel of each artist’s catalog.

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