Going Gangrene: The Alchemist & Oh No Keep The Grittiness In Hip-Hop With ‘You Disgust Me’ LP
Hip-hop is filled with undisputed tag team champs (see: Wu Tang Clan, Run The Jewels and OutKast) but of the many duos that have passed through the culture, Oh No and The Alchemist, collectively known as Gangrene, have consistently churned out raw and unfiltered hip-hop over boom bap production. Last month, Gangrene released their third studio album, You Disgust Me and like the title suggests, the 14-track offering is layered with dirty and gritty sounds fit for a mean-mugging hip-hop head.
“With all the stuff that’s out there, we just felt like we needed to have that grittiness out there and add a little mud to the water,” Alchemist told VIBE over the phone. “It’s pretty much self-explanatory. We just did what we had to do.”
In case you’re not up on game, Alchemist and Oh No are vets in the music industry. Clocking more than a decade of blood, sweat and tears in the business, Al has made a living cranking out beats for legendary MCs such as Nas, Mobb Deep, Dilated Peoples and Capone-N-Noreaga, yet, the California native has not abandoned their Golden Era (read: ’90s) swag that they’re known for.
“I think going into our first album [2010’s Gutter Water] and then the second album [2012’s Vodka & Ayahuasca] put us into the position that we’re in today,” Alchemist said. “Some people are just hearing us for the first time and they like us because the talent speaks for itself.” Said talent consists of Oh No’s uncanny vinyl selection mixed with Al’s dark, vinyl picks that sound nostalgic but not outdated.
Oh No, however, still isn’t satisfied, constantly working with a hustler’s mentality. “It just shows me that I need to step my game up,” he said. “That’s all it shows me.”
Take their YDM track “Noon Chuckas,” which reeks of an undergroud rap clinic filled with cypher-ready lyrics. “We wanted to get that battle rap thing going. It wasn’t like a concept,” continues Oh No. “It was just more like a boom bap. It wasn’t one of those records that had a format.”
The jazzy cut “The Man with the Horn” best showcases their storytelling abilities and knack for painting vivid descriptions on wax. “It has the jazz theme, dark scenery and the battle rap elements to it,” says Al. Gangrene continues to prove that there’s enough room and money for MCs to move within the ranks off the strength of their bars. To think otherwise would be a gross mistake.