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Blending bluegrass and hip-hop may not seem like a likely recipe for success. But don’t tell that to Rench, the mastermind behind the Emmy-nominated bluegrass/hip-hop outfit Gangstagrass.
Rench first came up with the concept back in grade school when he would breakdance on cardboard to RUN-DMC during recess, then go home and listen to his parents’ favorite country artists Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson on the stereo. Before long, he found common denominators between the two genres that were as obvious to him as grooves on vinyl.
Fortunately, that musical mash-up made a lasting impression on Rench, one that he finally put to good use years later after settling in Brooklyn. There he began to record MCs in his studio. Though the rappers may have thought their sessions were finished hip-hop tracks, Rench experimented with them afterwards, combining the vocal tracks with samples of bluegrass, blues, and electronic beats. The result was a genre-demolishing blitz called Rench Presents: Gangstagrass.