Ignoring the coastal feuds that dominated hip-hop for most of the '90s, the Alchemist (born Alan Maman) began his career in L.A. (he grew up in affluent Beverly Hills) and ended up in New York City. As a teenager, as part of the duo the Whooliganz (with Scott Caan, son of James) and the greater rap collective the Soul Assassins (with Cypress Hill, House of Pain, etc.), he released the single Put Your Handz Up on Tommy Boy in 1993, though the Whooliganz's debut full-length, Make Way for the W, was eventually shelved. The Alchemist continued making beats, however, working with and learning from DJ Muggs on 1995's Cypress Hill III: Temples of Boom as well as with childhood friend Evidence of Dilated Peoples. After moving to New York to attend college, Al hooked up with Queensbridge duo Mobb Deep, producing the songs "The Realest" and "Thug Music" from their 1999 record Murda Muzik, a collaboration that led to work with Pharoahe Monch, Royce da 5'9, Fat Joe, Defari, Freddy Foxxx, Ludacris, Big Daddy Kane, and Ghostface Killah, and even rock acts like Linkin Park and Morcheeba. In 2004 the Alchemist released his first solo full-length, 1st Infantry, which, besides featuring his own beats, also had him rapping alongside Stat Quo, the Game, Lloyd Banks, Mobb Deep, and Dilated Peoples, among others, and in 2005, after Eminem's DJ Green Lantern left the Anger Management 3 tour, the Detroit rapper hired Al as his replacement. In 2006 the Alchemist showcased his work with a pair of mixtapes of previously released and unreleased material, The Chemistry Files and No Days Off.
Hip-hop producer from West L.A. who got his break as a member of Cypress Hill affiliates The Whooliganz. Has since gone on to produce tracks for Dilated Peoples, Ghostface Killah, Mobb Deep, Royce da 5'9" and others and is now one of the most highly regarded producers in hip-hop.
As teen, Al began to identify strongly with the rebellious lyrics and urban sounds of hip-hop, and he began writing his own lyrics as a creative outlet. He joined up with other like-minded artists who wrote lyrics and rebelled strongly against their "uptight" suburban surroundings, among whom were Shifty Shellshock of Crazy Town, Evidence of Dilated Peoples and Scott Caan, son of James Caan. They would often hang out in urban areas of Los Angeles and participated in typical teenage rebellious activities like partying, smoking marijuana, and general mischief. Al and Scott decided to become a duo named The Whooliganz. While rhyming at a party in L.A., they attracted the attention of B-Real of Cypress Hill. He invited the teens to join his crew, The Soul Assassins, which also included the groups House of Pain and Funkdoobiest. In 1993, the Whooliganz released their first single, "Put Your Handz Up." The song received little radio airplay and their record label, Tommy Boy Records, decided to shelve their album. Rejected, Scott focused his creative energy on acting while Al became interested in process of making hip-hop beats. DJ Muggs took Al under his wing and taught him how to use a sampler and mixing board. After helping to produce a few tracks for Cypress Hill, Al became the main producer for his childhood friend, Evidence and his group Dilated Peoples. When Dilated debuted in 1998, they were an underground sensation creating a huge buzz about the man behind those incredible beats. Alchemist also produced several tracks on the debut album Focused Daily by Defari, another Dilated and Alkaholik affiliate. In 1999, Muggs introduced Al to his good friends, the popular hip-hop group Mobb Deep. Al produced two songs for their Murda Muzik album. Impressed by his production skills and street smarts, Mobb Deep took him under their wing, using his beats on all their subsequent albums. As Alchemist's profile increased, he went on to produce for many of hip hop's most successful and prominent artists, such as Nas, Fat Joe, Jadakiss, Ghostface Killah and Snoop Dogg. He has also remixed songs for bands and artists in other genres such as Linkin Park and Morcheeba. Al stayed loyal to his old friends, continuing to produce for Dilated, Cypress Hill, Everlast (formerly of House of Pain) and Crazy Town. He also enjoys producing for lesser-known underground rappers, often giving them some of his best beats. In 2004, 11 years after his rapping career folded, The Alchemist returned with his long-awaited debut album, "1st Infantry." The album yielded the hit single "Hold You Down" (featuring Prodigy, Illa Ghee, and Nina Sky), which hit number ninety-five on the Billboard Hot 100 in 2005. Alchemist has been dissed by underground rapper Ras Kass on the track "Kiss U". The producer of Ras Kass' "Home Sweet Home" was the Alchemist. The track was to be the lead single, yet somehow, the Alchemist resold the beat to Jadakiss, of The Lox fame. Jada proceeded to release his version (We Gon' Make It) first, leaving Ras hanging. Ras attempted to stop the release to no success. Alchemist was signed on as the official tour DJ for Eminem on the 2005 Anger Management 3 Tour, replacing the recently-ousted DJ Green Lantern. However on July 13 2005, the tour bus carrying Eminem's entourage (including rapper Stat Quo as well as Alchemist) swerved off the road and turned over. Alchemist was treated for broken ribs and a collapsed lung.