Shop our Big Takeover store for back issues, t-shirts & CDs
Follow The Big Takeover
Gangstagrass – Photo Credit: Melodie Yvonne
Blending bluegrass, electro beats and hip-hop seems like an unlikely recipe for success, but that mix has taken Gangstagrass to the top of the Bluegrass charts.
Their recent live album spent almost 20 weeks in the Top Ten. The band packs concert halls, rock and country music clubs, and festivals with their impressive live shows, featuring their hybrid of jam-band improvisation, prodigious bluegrass chops, and socially conscious rapping.
In an era when the social, racial, musical, and economic divisions between Americans have become more strained, Gangstagrass is providing a glimpse of the kind of conversations about race and power that we could be having if we were ready to listen.
Gangstagrass will be dropping their lyrically trenchant and sonically vibrant upcoming album No Time For Enemies on July 24th via AntiFragile Music.
“Too many people are seeing each other as enemies, when they could be communicating and finding common ground,” says Rench, the band’s founder and producer, (and vocalist and guitarist), “If anything, this pandemic is showing so clearly how connected we all are, we just need to realize that those connections run down to our part in poverty and racism.”
The music on No Time For Enemies is upbeat, but the lyrics are more political than previous fare. “As a multi-racial band, that bridges American musical cultures, we walk the walk when we sing about getting real on the subject of racism.”
Rench is joined by banjo player Dan Whitener, fiddle player Brian Farrow, and hip-hop emcees R-SON The Voice Of Reason and Dolio The Sleuth.
Big Takeover is totally stoked to host the premiere of the fresh and relevant lead single “Nickel And Dime Blues,” which officially releases on May 15th. Whitener takes on lead vocals for this bluegrass-steeped story-telling track that also grooves with a funky, staccato rhythm.
Picked guitar, banjo, and fiddle notes create a meandering flow, while Whitener sings with a carefree twang about hard times. Heavyweight raps backed by vinyl scratches punctuate the plaintive narrative, adding to the theme of commonality when it comes to the struggle of daily living for those in economic distress.
In this instance, the listener follows the plight of a poor worker into a pharmacy where he is unable to afford medicine, a liquor store only to discover he can’t afford to buy a bottle to sooth his worries, and ultimately to prison.
“We believe in talking about the economic struggle,” Rench says. “These are things folks across the country can relate to – rural and urban, black and white – despite thinking that they’re so different. We have to unlock solidarity.”
Pre-Save “Nickel And Dime Blues”