Published Oct 23, 2010The press release for Gangrene's Gutter Water release (a collaboration project between producers/MCs Oh No and the Alchemist) appropriately states that the two artists create "an aesthetic that resides at the corner of Crenshaw and Elm Street." Two parts paranoia and one part Cali cool, this innovative record combines hypnotizing production with grimy verses, serving as the perfect soundtrack for both the thugs and the backpackers. Whether it's the Middle-Eastern-flavoured shuffle of "Chain Swinging" or the haunted house keys of "Not High Enough," the Alchemist and Oh No deliver behind the boards and in the booth. Both producers ably handle the mic and deftly prove that Kanye's not the only ill producer who has stepped up his lyrical game. Al and Oh No also call in a few favours earned over the years supplying fresh beats, as Gutter Water is certainly not short on guests. Raekwon ("Gutter Water"), Fashawn ("Wassup Wassup"), Planet Asia ("Get Into Some Gangster Shit") and Stones Throw brothers Guilty Simpson and MED ("Breathing Down Yo Neck") sprinkle some knowledge over their respective tracks, particularly Simpson on the bruising "Brass Knuckle Rap." Just like the stomach-turning disease they borrow their name from, Gangrene are sickening.
Explain how the project came about. You met at an Evidence (Dilated Peoples) show, but then did you just swap ideas or what?
Oh No: We was just on some let's do a joint. "Send me a joint, and I'll send you a joint and we'll see where it goes from there."
While listening to the album, I found a lot of the tracks had a paranoid feel. Do you guys get in that mind state when you smoke or are you more Cheech and Chong and just have a laugh?
Alchemist: You know, every now and then we smoke weed. We make music and we kind of just find ways to eat in between all the every-now-and-thens. I can't complain. We make a nice living off of making disruptive rap.
You've got a lot of great guests on the album. What was it like working with a vet like Raekwon?
Alchemist: Anybody on this album, you know, it came through natural. Definitely open to having an O.G. like that on the album, you know? Gives it a nice little rap stamp. You know what I'm saying?
Both of you are known for your dope production. This project may be the first time that people hear either of you rap. With regards to that do you feel that you're drawn more to rhyming now or will you always put production first and foremost?
Oh No: Beats, beats, beats!
Alchemist: I think that both myself and Oh No are known as producers. Beats, I mean, that's what I think makes this shit special.
Did you draw inspiration for this record from your brother's )Madlib) classic Jaylib collaboration with the late J Dilla?
Oh No: Of course there's inspiration from the big brothers and all, but the way they did the album, it was a group album, but they weren't really doing songs together. Whereas when we went to work on it, it wasn't like, "let's do some Jaylib-type shit." More or less, he was doing a song for me, and I was doing a song for him and then we ended up doing some more songs and then it ended up being some group shit.
Anything you wanted to say to your Canadian fans before we go?
Alchemist: Big up, Canada, man. Toronto. It's like a baby New York. No yellow snow! (Decon)