Beat Battles We Deserve: How Would Madlib vs. The Alchemist Play Out? [Playlist]

Who would win in a beat battle between Madlib and The Alchemist?  We staged a showdown between the two seminal loopers.

If you’ve been anywhere near a device over the last month — has it actually been that long? — chances are you’ve seen or skimmed through your fair share of superproducers and songwriters duking it out on Instagram Live.

But the resurgence of the beat battle has left many of us wanting. Mostly, those who’ve reached their threshold for the effortless flexing of perennial chart-toppers in a format invented below the surface. And it didn’t take long for Twitter to put out the call for something heavier and more cut-throat. Naturally, a dream matchup was floated into the ether, calling for a matchup between The Alchemist and Madlib. Honorably, each bowed to the other, sending Rap Twitter into exhaustive chatter over which titan would fall. But with resumes that span eras, styles, and generations of prestigious collaborators, each case is stacked from all angles.

As the debate rages on, there’s no sense in calling it. Self-isolation remains a mandatory lifestyle and we all finally have the time this discussion demands. To add a little fuel to the fire, we’ve combed through their towering catalogs to stage a simulated showdown between the seminal loopers, imagining just what that spectacle might sound like. Would it be bloodsport? Would they play off the overlap in their sample archives? Would it even be competitive?

Regardless of where you fall in the vastness of the AlcLib spectrum, an examination is only right. Of course, we can only theorize with what’s actually been released, but for our money — and sanity — this track-for-track sequence of their respective work with Mobb Deep, Kendrick Lamar, Nas, Erykah Badu, Curren$y, Kanye, Earl Sweatshirt, and more, is a damn-good place to start.

Hear Madlib and Alchemist go head-to-head in the first installment of Beat Battles We Deserve below. Check it out below.



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Zo is a staff writer at Okayplayer where he covers music.

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