Album Review: You Disgust Me by The Alchemist + Oh No (Gangrene)
Very Good, Based on 4 Critics
HipHopDX - 70 Based on rating 3.5/5
Hip Hop’s creativity is now drawn from a global wellspring, and vanguards are regularly born far outside of traditional hotbeds. California’s own Alchemist and Oh No (the latter a blood brother to producer extraordinaire Madlib) have respectively made their mark from Beverly Hills and Oxnard, working with legends not limited to Mobb Deep, Nas, DOOM, Curren$y, and Planet Asia. Albeit a newer outfit in tandem since 2010, Gangrene has been a pet project where they attempt to form musical diamonds from unfiltered grit.
When you hear an Alchemist beat, you know it. He's refined his style over 15 years and hundreds of productions, from Prodigy's thug-rap high-water mark Return of the Mac to brilliant loosies for Dilated Peoples ("Worst Comes to Worst"), Nas ("Book of Rhymes") and Raekwon ("Surgical Gloves"). His sound moves between two poles. There are the loops woven out of all manner of sample fodder, like the superior Israeli Salad instrumental suite he released earlier this year that excavates records purchased during a trip to Israel.
A project that launched in 2010 featuring producer/rapper the Alchemist and rapper/producer Oh No, Gangrene have been a conceptual powerhouse before, offering an acid trip with 2012's Vodka & Ayahuasca, or re-creating the world of the video game Grand Theft Auto V with their Welcome to Los Santos LP from earlier in 2015. This second album of the year is as murky as its title implies, and there are plenty of hate-spitting interludes throughout the album, but this is arguably as loose as the duo have ever come off, since You Disgust Me casually strolls through the land of underground rap and lets the concepts fall where they may. In the case of the great "Noon Chuckas," it all falls toward the ugly sound of their aptly titled debut, Gutter Water, with eerie beats and angry words overflowing, but with the Action Bronson feature "Driving Gloves," it's funky spy music and modern video game drama.
Of the many lanes of hip-hop, The Alchemist and Oh No—collectively known as Gangrene—rep for the backpack thugs. And with their recently released project You Disgust Me, out now via Mass Appeal, the duo stick to their successful boom-bap sound. Being that The Alchemist has been crafting beats for the past 15-plus years, his sound has become predictable yet remained typically raw.