Alchemist + Oh No | Gutter Water

Decon (2010)
By CHRIS FARAONE  |  November 30, 2010
3.5 3.5 Stars


The debut of Alchemist and Oh No as Gangrene is like Indian-food flatulence that somehow smells delicious. A cesspool of Third World ghetto-ugly rhymes with sewer-ready soundscapes, Gutter Water is a soundtrack fit for Gitmo, Gummo, or Gomorrah. Although both Alchemist and Oh No are producers first and rappers second, they're competent enough MCs to keep the "raw uranium" oozing and, in such cases as "Standing in the Shadows," to connect the dark æsthetics with real social ills that fuel their misanthropic gusto. And though there are hints of aural optimism up front — the title track packs Love Boat foghorns for guest Raekwon to dispatch mayhem over — by the midpoint, Oh No and Alchemist are backstroking through toxic muck. And homeboys also wade through the waste: Fashawn and Evidence knuckle down "Wassup Wassup," Roc C crushes the violently operatic "From Another Orbit." Even before this savage smorgasbord, Alchemist and Oh No, along with their respective camps, were largely responsible for helping contemporary SoCal hip-hop find its own grimy image. With Gutter Water, they've delivered a defining counterpoint to Chill Coast boom-bap and all its optimistic pleasantries.

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