Album Review — 25 January 2012

By Ahmad Awadallah

What do you get when you mix vodka and ayahuasca? Well, you can either have a crazy night waking up with a cheap one-legged hooker and no remembrance of your excursions or simply get the title of Gangrene’s new album, Vodka & Ayahuasca.

Oh No and Alchemist have released a slew of exceptional material despite linking up and releasing their debut LP a couple years ago. They are contending for the most consistent duo in Hip-Hop title and their new album should definitely put them in prime position to snatch the number one spot.

It’s no surprise that nearly all the production is aesthetically-weed heavy. Initially some tracks seem out of whack, but they definitely have some type of weird appeal that will grow on you and in no time, you’ll have it on rewind. Gangrene are renowned for their production prowess, but they take their rhyme game to higher echelon on this one and definitely command a new found respect on the mic.

“Gladiator Music” is the second song on the 14-track LP and it features Hip-Hop legend Kool G Rap. It must be said that the duo’s verses give KGR a run for his money, but ultimately all three rappers fire rifles over some psychedelic synths. Alchemist rips it the hardest when he spits “Rappers are RuPaul/I’m Kool Aid man coming through your f**king wall.”

Roc Marciano comes through and spits a mean 16 on “Drink Up.” He opts to tear it down with a rapid fire flow that complements the profligate pace production.

That Queensbridge grittiness comes alive on “Dump Truck” and appropriately features Mobb Deep’s Prodigy. The track acts as a breath of fresh air from the drugged out production offered on most of the album, despite its tenacious nature. The hook is extremely weak and a cheap ploy to be overtly threatening.  Capital P continues his rap renaissance since his release from prison with venomous verse and the California tag-team find themselves playing catch-up on this joint.

The Cali crew gets it in by boasting about their Hip-Hop dexterity on the piano-driven track “Due Work.” “Odds Cracked” maintains that spaced out-sound, but the duo inject some exultant trumpets and Big L/M.O.P samples that up the tempo and emotion. “The Groove” packs some power-driven piano notes and hard-hitting high-hats persists throughout and ultimately it seems a little out of sorts.  However Oh No goes hard on the hook, it’s just a shame the beat wasn’t laced properly.

The album is overall thorough while packing some underground gems. There is no doubt that you will bump this hard, but the blatant stoned-sound will definitely turn you off. Alc and Oh No chuck up another dope album despite its one-lane approach and their pen game would definitely keep you beasting for another Gangrene album.

black-thumbs-up black-thumbs-upblack-thumbs-upblack-thumbshalf Out of 5

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