Individually they are known as Oh No and The Alchemist. Collectively they are known as Gangrene. They share a few things in common. They hail from California, they both pull doubly duty producing and rapping, and they both create music that’s not really meant for a Harry Styles or BTS audience. This isn’t just underground or indie rap. Gangrene lives up to their name by making purposefully grimy, sickly, dank hip-hop.

With only four songs to work with on the “Sawblade EP” plus four instrumentals, you might think that’s not enough time for two talented and unconventional artists to get their work out. You’d be wrong about that. This project was so official that they even dropped a music video for “The Sickness.” Oh No took his turn producing this one and he vows “hip-hop ain’t dead/I’m the cure for the cancer.” His chopped up beat and punchlines win me over here. “Even if they was Sega, they still couldn’t Outrun.”

Alchemist takes his turn behind the boards for “Operating Room,” which certainly has the beeping of a heart monitor to it, but also sounds like a game of Pong on acid. “This cat’s been infected with the rap ignorance […] I took the scalpel and started digging.” Remember when I said this duo gets dark? They’re not playing on these tracks. “Reactive/wanted in 22 states for malpractice.” Gangrene revel in being a modern day twist on horrorcore rap. Their sound is not meant for shock value though — it’s simply meant as an antithesis to everything commercial and mainstream to come out of hip-hop.

Listening to Alc’s beat on “Freshest Rhymes” and Oh No’s on “Overdose” makes me sad I didn’t order this EP back when I had the chance. The saw blade shaped vinyl was limited to only 1,000 copies and as you might expect it now fetches insane secondary market prices. If the group was better known it would probably be twice as expensive. The risk of talking about a release like this is that it will only make matters worse, but the “Sawblade EP” is too good to not give it it’s due.

In short: “I’m self-sufficient, that means I don’t need shit.” Alchemist and Oh No don’t need to sell more than 1,000 copies of this EP. They’re good regardless.

Gangrene :: Sawblade EP
8Overall Score