Not for Long, Not for Nothing – [Alphonse] x [Furozh]

Collaborative albums seem to be the trend of 2020 in hip-hop, which I absolutely support. This time, the joint effort is between Alphonse, a Baltimore, Maryland dual artist x producer; and Furozh, a New York producer. Now residing in Mount Vermon, New York, Alphonse previously went by the stage name $keloton. For a throwback, peep Alphonse going over Wu Tang Clan’s classic “7th Chamber” instrumental, featuring Entendre, now famously known as YBN Cordae. Alphonse is comparable to RZA, in the sense that he has prioritized beat making over rapping. However, both RZA and Alphonse are highly capable emcees when gripping the mic, showcasing their lyrical display over similar grimy, lo-fi, boom-bap and soul-filled instrumentals. Alphonse may not yet have the critical acclaim that ‘The Abbot’ has, but the influence is undeniable, and surely something RZA himself would applaud. As for Furozh, along with being a producer, he is the founder of “Off The Scene,” a newly formed collective based in NYC consisting of music producers and artists creating performative spaces for other creatives. The producer is also apart of Inner Ocean Records; a Calgary, Alberta, Canada based platform and collective for emerging artists to release music and visual art. Furozh’s production style can be described as fused, often incorporating multiple sounds and synths for a pleasantly astonishing final product. For instrumental heads, imagine the sound of Knxledge infused with Flying Lotus; that’s the closest one can get to describing Furozh’s music.

The title of Alphonse and Furozh’s collaborative project  is “Not for Long, Not for Nothing,” offering a refreshing ten songs for a run time of just twenty-two minutes and twenty-six seconds. Going over Furozh’s mature, varied production, Alphonse’s deep pitch and tone seemingly make for a perfect match. Without knowledge that Alphonse is a producer first, one can easily presume that the Baltimore native is strictly an emcee, pulling no punches with differentiated flows and continuous bars. My highlighted track is “That One Jawn,” a two minute and fifty-six record that switches up at the 1:51 mark. The switch up transitions from a synthesized tune to a spacey, Flying Lotus like instrumental, in which Alphonse properly adjusts by picking up his rapping pace and flow. A notable bar that Alphonse remarks is when he says: “In my corner who gon be there, I will call on you when I will try to make some things clear, feeling like you not here / either way it goes I’m still top tier.” Production wise, my favorite track is undoubtedly “Into the Night,” an eighty second record with a touch of blended jazz looped to perfection. Alphonse’s energy is immense, offering witty lyricism such as “no longer lost but not found, so I say I’m congruent with all my problems and situations and thoughts that I been choosing.” Another notable line is one of confidence, in which Alphonse makes himself clear: “I’m on the watch for these ni**** that think I’m beneficial, you not a issue these n**** know that I been official, I’mma prevail you just an L like the shape of a pistol, and I can’t waste none of my time that sh*t be detrimental.” The entire project contains this level of expressive and creative genius throughout, leaving the listener craving more once it ends. Stream Not for Long, Not for Nothing below, which can also be purchased in cassette form via Bandcamp.

Words by Brandon Washington