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Gangstagrass fuses string instruments with hip-hop artists, resulting in arguably the best argument yet for a rap and country music marriage.
— Rolling Stone Country
When music is this good it smashes every borderline, every genre, every preconceived idea of what a bluegrass hip-hop fusion might sound like.
— Essentially Pop
Gangstagrass is Good ‘Ole Southern Hick Hop. Marrying beats, banjos, and bars, this Brooklyn act is pioneering “bang and twang.”
— Noisey
Rench and his friends have done nothing short of creating a new form of music. Gangstagrass takes two types of music that are opposites and mixes them together brilliantly in a way that is natural and enjoyable.
— Elmore Leonard
A mixture of bluegrass and hip-hop that might repel some purists on either side of the country-and-rap divide, but will knock the socks off just about everybody else.
— Wall Street Journal
“It’s a daring blend of innovative modern swagger and classic Americana cool which dares listeners not to come along for the ride.”
— No Depression
Gangstagrass meld authentic bluegrass with rap and hip-hop. It’s a concept that may look jarring on paper but the band does it so effectively that it’s a much easier idea to sell once music fans see or hear them.
— Forbes
An experiment that proves, at least to me, that hillbillies and emcees can get along swimmingly
— Mother Jones magazine
Perhaps unexpected but thoroughly organic assimilation of bluegrass and hip-hop
— Lexington Herald
“the Brooklyn group brings together rappers and pickers to create music as steeped in Appalachia as it is in beats and lyrical flow. By the end of their set the members of Gangstagrass succeeded in igniting a full on dance party and showing that the melding of hip-hop and bluegrass can be done proper. Their set featured all the best attributes of both styles of music: top notch musicianship with the occasional jam, lively harmonies, and two MCs at the top of their game dropping rhymes and keeping the crowd fully hyped. In other words, they are an act not to be missed.”
— Glide Magazine
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The Gangstagrass Touring Ensemble:

Rench: Vocals, acoustic guitar, beats

Dan Whitener: Banjo, vocals

Brian Farrow: fiddle

R-SON: Vocals

Dolio The Sleuth: Vocals

Special guests on select tours:

DJ Leecy T: Turntables

Tina Lama: Bass

Dave Gross: Mandolin

WATCH AND LISTEN

DOWNLOADS/CONTACT

Contact: Rench rench@renchaudio.com 646-223-0502

Press: Fiona Bloom fiona@thebloomeffect.com

Booking: James Leslie at Skyline Artists james@skylineonline.com

Bio

THERE ARE ONLY THREE BANDS THAT CAN TAME A MOUNTAIN LION JUST BY PLAYING. GANGSTAGRASS IS ONE OF THEM. GANGSTAGRASS IS ALSO THE OTHER TWO.

To many people, country music and hip-hop have nothing in common, and mixing them is an outlandish idea, but to the mastermind behind Gangstagrass it just makes sense .  “There are a lot more people out there with Jay-Z and Johnny Cash on their playlists than you think.” says Rench, who had previously made a name for himself as an in-demand Brooklyn country and hip-hop producer and singer/songwriter.  He should know – he’s toured the country with a band of bluegrass pickers and hip-hop emcees to the delight of standing room crowds everywhere.

Rench spent the early 2000s Making beats for local NYC rappers and also hosting country music nights in popular NYC venues, which allowed him to assemble groups to perform honky-tonk hip-hop in the band B-Star and for is Solo albums. In 2007, Rench was listening to the 1970s recordings of Ralph Stanley and the Clinch Mountain Boys and couldn’t help imagining what classic bluegrass would sound like with rap vocals and beats. The result was a genre-demolishing blitz called Rench Presents: Gangstagrass. He put it up for free download and people took notice. Hundreds of thousands of downloads followed creating an intense underground buzz.

When FX Network came to Rench looking for the Gangstagrass sound for the theme song to their new series Justified, he had bluegrass players lay down an original track with rapper T.O.N.E-z, the younger brother of early hip-hop legends Special K and T-LaRoc. The result was "Long Hard Times To Come," the song that opened every episode of six seasons of the hit series, nominated for an Emmy Award in 2010.

The same formula of authentic bluegrass players and real hip-hop emcees was used to produce four studio albums, beginning with 2010’s  Lightning On The Strings, Thunder On The Mic. Two years later the Gangstagrass sound was expanded with the release of Rappalachia, a 15 song album featuring a variety of rappers, including Kool Keith, Dead Prez, Nitty Scott MC, T.O.N.E-z, BROOKLYN35, R-SON, and Dolio The Sleuth. Country singers Brandi Hart from the Dixie Bee-Liners and Jen Larson added gritty harmonies alongside Rench’s choruses. Broken Hearts and Stolen Money was released in 2014.  Featuring performances by legendary rap team Smif-N-Wessun, Juno award winning rapper Liquid (of BranVan 3000), Brandi Hart of the Dixie Bee-Liners and Alexa Dirks of Chic Gamine in addition to the now regular crew of emcees and pickers, the album received universal critical acclaim including the Boston Globe labeling the raucous single Two Yards “Essential.” A fourth official album titled American Music was released in April 2015.  Featuring a collection of standout original cuts and traditional folk anthems the band once again broke new ground, and debuted at #5 on the Billboard bluegrass charts.

Gangstagrass has toured internationally, blowing minds on main stages from SXSW to Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival, with a live stage act taking full advantage of the improvisational aspects of both hip-hop and bluegrass. The Gangstagrass live show has garnered a reputation among fans for its dynamism and spontaneity. 2019 will see the release of a live album recorded at various venues during their Spring 2018 tour. Pocket Full Of Fire: Gangstagrass Live showcases utterly unique Gangstagrass stage performance, in which songs are transformed and radically different from the studio recordings. It will also feature a few new songs that were road tested during the tour. Fans who have not been able to see Gangstagrass perform in person will finally get a taste of what it’s like when you have hip-hop emcees and bluegrass players engage each other’s talents on stage.