Gangrene Gutter Water

Gangrene Gutter Water
Gutter Water isn't a bad album. Since Gangrene are the side-project of two star producers ― Oh No and the Alchemist ― the first full-length has some excellent beats. The spiralling piano of "Not High Enough" and the complex orchestrals of the title track both verge on being pretty, a word seldom used in hip-hop. The beat for "Ransom" sounds like the score to some long-lost '70s action film, while "Take Drugs" keeps it good and intimidating with sparse snares and grimy keys. The problem is, with two all-star producers at the helm, every beat on Gutter Water should be classic, but there's just too much average material. The beats for "Wassup Wassup," "All Bad" and "Breathing Down Yo Neck" feel like half-finished ideas that were haphazardly thrown onto the album. Making things worse is the fact that, as a rapper, Alchemist is just average. Put him over a straight-up banger and you don't notice that his rhymes aren't anything to write home about. Putting him on a beat that's sub-spectacular shines a spotlight on his flaws as an MC. There's nothing terribly wrong with Gutter Water; it's just not everything it should be. (Decon)