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  • Writer's pictureThe Sound Cafe

#1 Billboard Chart Bluegrass-Meets-Hip-Hop Phenomenon Gangstagrass To Tour The UK

By Stevie Connor.

Gangstagrass = Gangsta rap meets Bluegrass and this summer, the Billboard No.1 band are heading to the UK to headline Oslo in Hackney, perform and hold a workshop at the prestigious Cambridge Folk Festival and raise the roof at not to be missed shows at Huntingdon Hall in Worcester and Mechanics Hall in Marsden.

Think Kendrick Lamar and Snoop Dogg walking onto the set of Coen Brother’s ‘O Brother Where Art Thou’ and realizing that the two sounds actually combine like eggs on toast.

These two sub genres of music controversially used over the years to depict and represent the political unrest between black and white America, and beyond, are able to break down these futile walls and integrate all colours to enjoy two very different types of music in a gumbo pot of gangsta fusion. It’s just glorious and needs to be seen and heard to be believed.

Over its decade-plus as a genre-demolishing world-touring band, Gangstagrass has spent countless weeks on the Billboard Top 10 Bluegrass chart, the first time real hip-hop MCs appeared on that chart; received an Emmy nomination and UNESCO's International Innovator Award; taught workshops for k-12, colleges, and national conferences; been featured on PBS and covered by Forbes and Vice, the Wall Street Journal and NPR, Rolling Stone as well as publications dedicated to Hip-Hop, dedicated to Bluegrass, dedicated to Americana. The common thread of it all is that they are bringing people together across political, racial, generational, socioeconomic, and demographic lines.

Their audiences have conservatives and liberals, libertarians and avowed socialists and folks who don't care one iota about politics, people of all racial and ethnic backgrounds, rich and poor, great-grandparents and little kids and college students and everyone in between, and they're all in the same space enjoying the same thing. There aren't many spaces in America today where that happens, or many parts of the world sadly, but Gangstagrass takes that very American ideal -- of all kinds of different people and different perspectives welcomed and blended to create something greater than the sum of its parts – and embodies it in a way that has everyone up and dancing. This is surely what Mel Brooks had in mind when he made ‘Blazin’ Saddles’ in the 1980s?

The band has released six full-length albums to date, with tracks featuring Nitty Scott MC, Dead Prez, Demeanor, Kaia Kater, and legendary rap team Smif-N-Wessun among others. Rench, the Brooklyn-based country and hip-hop producer who is the mastermind behind Gangstagrass, crafted the instantly-recognizable ‘Long Hard Times to Come’ featuring T.O.N.E-z that opened every episode of FX show ‘Justified’ and earned Gangstagrass a 2010 Emmy nomination for Best Theme Song – more proof that Gangstagrass "paved the Old Town Road."

Taking full advantage of the improvisational aspects and virtues of both hip-hop and bluegrass, including frequent three-and four-part harmonies, MCs Dolio the Sleuth and R-SON the Voice of Reason trade verses and freestyle alongside the unparalleled skills of fellow vocalists Dan Whitener on banjo, B.E. Farrow on fiddle, and Rench on guitar and beats.

This summer, Gangstagrass will bring their unique bluegrass-meets-hip-hop phenomenon to the UK. Around the dates, brand new Gangstagrass single, "Up High Do or Die" will be pre-released as a download in the UK only via an exclusive QR code. The latest Gangstagrass album ‘No Time for Enemies’ was released in August 2020 and quickly rose to #1 on the Billboard bluegrass charts. The next Gangstagrass album is well underway, and more 2023 tour dates are upcoming across the USA and Europe.


July 26- Huntingdon Hall, Worcester

July 27- Oslo Hackney, London

July 28- Marsden Mechanics, Marsden

July 29- Cambridge Folk Festival 2023, Cambridge.



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