Posted on August 12th, 2015 (12:00 pm) by Justin Goodman

Not all collaborations have the Reese's Effect. That was my thought after listening to Gangrene's newest release, You Disgust Me. Oh No and The Alchemist aren't peanut butter and chocolate, sure, but both are veteran producers/rappers with credentials dating back to childhood: The Alchemist at 16 with his embarrassingly '90s duo, The Whooliganz, and Oh No being younger brother to a Midas of hip-hop production, Madlib, has a history with the art. Which makes the production of this new release as disappointing as, well, all of Gangrene's previous albums. Where is Al of the recent Israeli Salad, the Oh of Dr. No's Oxperiment? How do they go from these fusion styles, underground ethnomusicologists of a sort, to the overwrought and decadent grisliness and weed? The sole pleasure you can derive from their rapping on You Disgust Me is the same pleasure as listening to Dada sound poetry. They have nothing substantial to say, but their focus is flow anyway.

The degree of embarrassment anyone paying attention should feel has already been trod by Mosi Reeves over at Pitchfork (to emphasize the awkward Action Bronson line, “a bitch with a pussy like a Little League glove”). It's also worth noting how painful the duo themselves can be to hear at times, as with Oh's monumentally ridiculous “I'm sick I put 'em all in a coma, fuck it they sleeping/they unconscious but they hear me speaking” in “The Scrapyards.” That's not to mention the recurring food imagery that culminates in “Gluttony” and the Razzy earning “rubbing my belly like a pig but I don't fuck with the bacon.” Sadly, this is mixed in with an attempt at a semblance of sense taking the shape of scratchy audio conveying (maybe?) a cultural filth which only “God knows what growing behind there.” You Disgust Me falls somewhere between food porn and a Seth Macfarlane script. It's that one friend from high school you stopped understanding once you graduated.

Which is the same reason why I have no real problems with Gangrene. I laugh at the stupidity and silliness of it – as Insanul Ahmed did when interviewing them over three years ago. I appreciate that innocence which, in being so unpretentious, provides reliable company with steady Schadenfreude, and can tune it out as I want without missing anything. For, ultimately, the album takes itself as seriously as Oh No and the Alchemist take themselves. That's to say, not at all. The video game references (Liu Kang is name dropped in "Flamethrowers Pt.2"), the minimal, grumbling production, and Sugar Hill Gang style shout out to the next rappers, suggest as much as their utterly indifferent delivery. More delicious accidents have happened, but this particular combination is not quite disgusting enough to hate. Though it's a shame it's one of the last features of the late Sean Price.

Track Listing:

  1. The Filth (Intro)
  2. Reversals
  3. Sheet Music ft. Havoc and Sean Price
  4. Flamethrowers Pt.2
  5. The Man With the Horn
  6. Better Things
  7. Driving Gloves ft. Action Bronson
  8. Gluttony ft. Your Old Droog and Fashawn
  9. Scrapyards
  10. Noon Chuckas
  11. Just For Decorations ft. Chuck Strangers and Evidence
  12. Hazardous Material
  13. The Hidden Hand
  14. Hot Pillow (Bonus Track)
Purchase at: Amazon | eMusic

Our Rating

53 / 100
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