Gangstagrass – Rappalachia (2012)

Posted by on July 30, 2012

If Gangstagrass’s “Long Hard Times To Come” hadn’t been used so effectively as the theme song to the excellent TV series Justified, the idea of fusing hip-hop and bluegrass might seem ridiculous. But what makes Gangstagrass mastermind Rench (a Brooklyn, NY native) different from those who previously have attempted to combine banjos and break beats is a clear respect for musicians on both sides of the divide. The common ground is rhythm, and drawing from the one-chord drive of Dock Boggs’s “Sugar Baby” and “Country Blues” surprisingly makes perfect sense as a vehicle for a skilled MC. Certainly, getting Kool Keith on a track (“Western”) lends more credibility than, say, Kid Rock, and credibility is Rench’s primary concern. It’s hard to tell on early impressions whether Rappalachia is a game-changer though. American music is always at its best when black and white forms are blended more subtly, and this album largely smacks of a shotgun wedding. At the same time, it’s a bold vision of a potential future, and it’s inevitable that others will begin honing this album’s rough edges to forge a new sound.

mp3 VBR~224 kbps | 98 MB | UJ

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