Gangrene comprises of Alchemist and Oh No, two prolific West Coast producers well known in the hip hop game, who have come together to create a genuine underground project very much in the spirit of 90's hip hop. With so much commercial hip hop these days it's a welcome relief to hear that sound again. Al and Oh, more known as producers than rappers, do spit some lyrics throughout the album with some serious guest emcees too.
The theme of 'Gutter Water', released on Deacon Records, is kinda' abstract and out there with a contemporary social commentary that all cool hip hop albums used to do. It sets a tone with caricature imagery and serious underground lyrics, based on the conscious and scientific realm. The track 'Gutter Water' featuring Raekwon certainly shows what great producers Al and Oh are and the lyric delivery is very good. In fact the production is serious and very much in the spirit of genuine hip hop, with a bit of reflection from Oh's older bro Madlib too. There's conscious elements to make it real like 'From Another Orbit' and brings in the 'Black CNN' perspective, and there's rock 'n' roll slants too with 'Take Drugs'. Guests like Planet Asia, DJ Romes, MED, Roc C show this project was certainly appreciated within the hip hop community.
'Gutter Water' to me is like a blast from the past. It certainly shows great hip hop production and some nice raps from the guests. The only thing is that it's almost identical to what you've heard before at some point, so it's not really progressive, but it sounds fresh in the face of commercial hip hop certainly. It makes you wonder has hip hop gone full circle, or are producers running out of ideas? All I know is that Gangrene have produced a pretty cool album but let's hope hip hop transcends to another level before it becomes left on the shelf as blues music.