To appreciate Roc Marciano, Oh No and Alchemist’s (Gangrene) collaborative EP, GreneBerg is to appreciate filthy Hip Hop at its finest. The Decon Records release stands in direct contrast to Rap’s overproduced, cry-me-a-river swill merchants, slapping a gritty mean mug across the mainstream’s shiny facade in twenty-two sleek minutes. Few hooks. Feverish horns. Heart-thumping bass lines. It’s enough to applaud earnestly in the presence of grimy lawlessness.
“My discography’s Godly / Biters copy / While I pull one out the crime rhyme glossary,” raps Roc Marciano on the self-produced “Momma Told Me,” this EP’s blustering, horn-heavy introduction. Roc’s flow is anything but linear, making it nearly impossible to digest on shallow listen. But Roc revels in a-typical lyrical exercise, trading flaccid rhymes for abstract expressions of a felonious lifestyle. The Alchemist produced, “Hoard 90” is the perfect example:
“Words from my lips is permanent bliss / Superbness / You can’t learn this with an intern shift / Experience / Nothin’ to be taken serious / Display the 38 mysterious / The jewelry is luxurious / Period / The position niggas is in / I pity it / Bout to take over this whole shit / Hoes ride dick like pogo stick / Laughing as I / Advertise fabulous rhymes / All that vernacular is fly / Caught your album in just one try.”
Alchemist confesses he “doesn’t give a fuck about the current direction of rap” on “Sewer Gravy” while Oh No admits “I’d rather get my dick sucked at a strip club.” The track’s nostalgic sample and sinister cackles is another winner. “New Shit’s” guitar riffs and crashing snare adds an air of effervescence and “Papercuts” is masterfully layered. “Jet Luggage” sounds uninspired in comparison to the rest. It’s absolutely snooze-enducing, completely skippable, and the lone true filler on a seven song EP.
“Jet Luggage” aside, Roc Marciano, Oh No and Alchemist are an appreciated Rap grime syndicate, thumping their nose at an industry flooded with formulaic Hip Hop. They don’t need hooks. They don’t need pseudo R&B crooners. They don’t need to pander to an industry of cool. GreneBerg stands triumphantly on a plateau away from the plastic. “You got a Haggen Daz heart / This is modern art,” raps Roc Marciano on “Hoard 90.” Artful indeed.