Gangstagrass is a blend of seemingly contradictory genres: bluegrass and hip-hop. And despite what you may think, it’s actually pretty damn good.
When I first stumbled upon this record I was worried it might be another joke, a la The Gourds’ ridiculous “Gin & Juice” cover. But Rench, the Brooklyn based musician behind the project, did an admirable job and produced some straight-up dope hip-hop. The beats are composed mostly of countrified guitar and piano samples layered over genuinely funky boom-bap drums. The emcees Rench recruited to rap over his musical Frankenstein (and I mean that in the best possible way) are uniformly good, spitting lyrics which mix traditional hip-hop motifs with old-time, bluesy storytelling; truly, the link between the likes of Muddy Waters and Nas has never been more apparent.
For a taste of what I’m talking about, check out “On The Run” and “Pain,” then visit the Gangstagrass website to download the full album for free.
Rench – On The Run ft. T.O.N.E.-Z (Gangstagrass, 2008?)
Rench – Pain ft. T.O.N.E.-Z & Sharon Holly (Gangstagrass, 2008?)