6 February, 2012@9:16 pm
Quite easily the first great album of 2012, Alchemist and Oh No return as Gangrene with Vodka & Ayahuasca, their second collaborative album. Sharing duties on mics and boards, the duo have created a tripped out concept album, blending psychedelic samples with blunted rhymes.
Upon first listen, one might assume that Alchemist – the more famed producer of the group – was responsible for all of the beats on this LP, despite the fact Oh No produces the bulk of it. It’s put together in a way that makes it sound like the work of one producer, each track cohesively weaving into the next, with assorted samples of drunk bums delivering soon-to-be-classic quotables, immortalized here forever.
The album opens with the aptly titled “Gladiator Music”, riding a nasty guitar loop to it’s climax, as Al and Oh trade aggra-docio rhymes, which by itself is incredible, but an added verse from Kool G. Rap seals the deal. This leads into the ridiculously dark “Flame Throwers”, taking the prospects of gangster rap to the tenth level, while the dusty “Drink It Up” invites Greneberg partner Roc Marciano to join the fray, over a beat so nasty it melts your grill into 3 minutes of permanent screw-face.
That statement actually applies to the rest of the LP as well, as the two have mastered the art of gutter rap production, with other standout moments including “Dump Truck” (feat. Prodigy) and “Dark Shades” (feat. Evidence and Roc C). Alchemist and Oh No hold their own on the microphone throughout the album (an impressive feat, since both are producers first), but when those special guests come in, you’re already so open to the rest of the album, that when they grab the mic, it makes it one of those “Oooooh!” moments.
While Alchemist and Curren$y’s Covert Coup EP of 2011 perfected the laid back, blunted production style, this one instead goes for a more blitzed-out-of-your-mind, drunken-high, showing amazing range from the team. Even better than their debut, Vodka & Ayahuasca is easily the best thing yet of 2012, and will surely be honored on many year-end lists.
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