Hip hop and bluegrass fusion: Gangstagrass heads to the Yacht Club

Gangstagrass at the Yacht Club
While in grade school, founding member Rench split his time listening to Run DMC at school and Johnny Cash at home. — photo courtesy of Gangstagrass


Yacht Club — Friday, March 28 at 10 p.m. ($12)

Mixing hip hop and rock is old news. Gangstagrass represents the newest, unlikeliest crossover: bluegrass and rap. This could be something that gets old quick, but Gangstagrass is no joke.

This is a legitimate bluegrass group, boasting a talented hip-hop MC with some nice flows. Being an actual band, they bring something to live performances that’s often missing at other hip-hop shows: a performance that creates music and doesn’t just try to reproduce record tracks.

Beyond the fact that these guys put on an excellent show, maybe this fusion of genres draws upon a deeper connection — a nod to the collision of European and African music in the 19th Century that gave rise to authentically American styles of music like jazz, blues and country.

Bluegrass is actually a fairly new form of popular music that came to national attention after World War II; it’s signature instrument, the banjo, is an American mutation of an African instrument. In fact, members of street corner jug bands, popular in the decades prior to the rise of bluegrass, were mostly black.

Music history lesson aside, Gangstagrass is an authentically American genre collision that should make for some sweaty good fun in the Yacht Club. The show kicks off at 10 p.m. with tickets going for $12 at the door.

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