Summer has been behind us for several weeks now. Skies are turning cloudy, it’s colder and the leaves are turning various shades of brown. As you put on your headphones and pull your hoodie over your head there’s a place where those falling leaves may end up: among the Gutter Water.
Gangrene, the collaboration of producers Oh No and Alchemist, bring the soundtrack for the gully season. A collaboration between two producers like this immediately makes that other producer collabo spring to mind. Especially since Oh No’s brother Madlib was one half of Jaylib, the creators of one of the defining rap classics of ‘the noughties’. But these two are not trying to emalute ‘Champion Sound‘. The Disrupt and The Chemist aren’t working separately, feeding on the inspiration of the other, but seem to craft their tracks simultaneously as a full-fledged duo. While both of them are better known for their beats than their rhymes both of them fare well on the mic, Oh No was always known as a decent spitter and Alchemist has definitely grown as an mc over the years. While there are a few moments where the beats become cluttered and could use a bit more room for the verses to breathe most of the tracks shine from sheer bravado, both lyrically and musically. There is no deep soul-searching being done here. This is an album that sounds exactly like you would expect from something which has song titles like ‘All Bad‘, ‘Take Drugs‘ and ‘Brass Knuckle Rap‘.
‘Gutter Water’ is not going to reshape the hip-hop landscape by any means but it’s a welcome deviation from the emo-rap currently dominating the market in the same way De La’s ‘daisy age‘ was a welcome deviation from the gangsta rap dominating back then. Even though it could possibly be considered ‘throwback rap’ it’s a testament to their talent that Oh No and Alchemist never sound outdated on here. So get your ice-grill in shape, take your winter boots out of the closet and put up a middle finger to the cold. Gangrene is here to take us through the colder months, and I’m loving it.