Syl Johnson’s suit against Cypress Hill has yet to be resolved, but a source very familiar to the situation spoke to HipHopDX on the matter. While perfecting his own production technique under the tutelage of DJ Muggs and the Soul Assassins, Alchemist had a chance to contribute to the group’s projects during a time when sampling and royalties were handled differently.

They’ve got so many joints that it’s crazy,” Al noted. “Some of their joints go back to the times when the sample laws were not as strict. You were getting away with a lot more murder back in the Public Enemy days. It was crazy to try and break down some of those records with like 50 samples.”

While neither party has had much to say regarding Cypress’ alleged use Johnson’s “Is It Because I’m Black” for their 1993 song “Lock Down,” Al offers a few ways to handle the issue of paying for and clearing samples.

Sometimes it becomes an issue, but I just keep my fingers crossed,” Alchemist says. “Sometimes it works as just a straight loop, and there are times where [the artist] will reach out and want full credit. You give the credit where it’s due. Sometimes you take a little piece, do surgery, and by cutting and splicing you get away with a little more. Those times I take more of a chance, because I took it and transformed it into something new.”

Alchemist’s newest creations, which may or may not contain sampled works, can be found on his digital EP, Chemical Warfare is available now. A full-length follow up album, The Cookbook, and Al’s collaborative effort with Oh No, tentatively titled Gang Green, are expected to be released during the first quarter of 2009.


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