Gangrene, the hip-hop dynamic-duo conspired of The Alchemist, and Oh No. Both monumental giants in music, together are able to make a completely disgusting themed and sounding thirteen-track trudge through mud, disease, and the filth of the world. Using both Alchemist’s intense production and lyrical aspect and Oh No of just the same, the two make for a gross team of both capital and grime.
After an opening that rivals an abandoned cesspool that discusses the on-running theme of the album, You Disgust Me, an immense amount of filth and disgust that we face everyday. “that’s not even a cleaning issue, that’s a, that’s a ‘I don’t care’ issue. God knows what’s growing behind there. It’s some really nasty, disgusting filth. It’s been explained to me several times that I need to understand how filthy this is.” The intro, or also known as “The Filth,” is able to set the tone of what is going to be experienced, and this is then first evident in the first musical track, “Reversals.”
An echoed voice of a monstrous man opens the first few seconds of “Reversals,” where he can be heard saying, “Gangrene, where the light at? Me a get my machete, me a carve ye up. Clean me blade mon, me a sharp it up. Nice and clean, big up…” This is then the foundation for Oh No to start his verse over a strumming guitar that then forms into sampled screams and a flashy drum beat that acts as a clash of hi-hats, toms, and snare mixes. Oh No begins with some pleasant bars about, “It’s Doctor No, put back in yo guts. Back in the cut, sealing the crease. Put ‘em together piece by piece, then break a jig-saw.” The monstrous man can still be heard through the intermissions between Oh No’s verse and The Alchemist’s subtle, but powerful introduction.
Alchemist comes in with a line that is almost similar to Oh No’s in the way it discusses broken bones and becoming a surgeon for their victim, “Spit the bubble gum back in the package, redo the wrapper. Breaking yo back, feel the fracture. Scoop your guts, stuff ‘em back in your stomach and seal it after.” The venomous villains then let the beat fizzle out into letting the monstrous man give a speech while played in tandem to toilet flushes and the filth of “Reversals” being washed down the drain.
This lets the downright gorgeous chords of “Sheet Music” create a near church-like instrumental that is a perfect mix with the quadruple threat from Oh No, Alchemist, Havoc, and Sean Price. Oh No opens the first line of verses, using effortless flow and an incredible use of word play, Oh No explains, “They say the boy is old school WWF, I will smack a fucking chair into that little ass chest. You out of breath, that means you in need of some rest.” Oh No then continues on to say a verse that covers the theme of dreams and sleeping, “So I can see what you thought on the sheets, I call it sheet music. Like the counting the sheep moving, the sleep movement…I choke ya focus, gone like hocus pocus. A locust swarm the only way you hearing a buzz.”
Havoc then comes in to produce the hook or chorus of the track and it was slightly disappointing to not get a fourth verse on “Sheet Music,” but Havoc’s chorus is momentous and lets a quick, but slick segue happen into Sean Price’s verse. He travels down the path of focusing on the dreaming aspect of “Sheet Music’s” theme and instead opens with, “Listen, I beam your wig you see in this riddle. My dream’s is big; my crib is little. Living in the Ville is risky, niggas green with envy but I’m Bill Bixby.”
The Alchemist then closes out the track with a verse that is barricaded on both sides by filth and a crisp sense of identity, “I’m giving you a snippet view, trailer visual sicker than salmonella chicken flu. My creative juice come from a different fruit. When you sipping straw like Guinness brew.” Both discussing the overarching theme of revolting grime, and how Gangrene is on different wavelengths in only a few lines apart. “Sheet Music” also has a level of sorrow connected to it as this was Sean Price’s last recorded verse to be released as he would pass only hours after You Disgust Me would be released.
“Flamethrowers Pt. 2” then comes into frame and is more of an experimental mess for an instrumental. It uses sampled voices and popping strings mixed with horns to become the overlay that is banged along with a rapid snare bounce beat. It is incredibly busy, but Oh No and The Alchemist attack on the track and are able to keep the wild animal of an instrumental under control. “Flamethrowers Pt. 2” is a continuation of the saga created from Gangrene’s last record, Vodka and Ayahuasca. They actually take a sample from their past track “Flame Throwers,” and both Alchemist and Oh No are able to create lines about intense burning and fires that burn down spots.
Oh No is the first torch on the track and starts with, “Look, I see them gassed up like they’re full of propane. Who reign? Nobody now, popped a hole up in their butane… Throw fire from the hand like Liu Kang.” Giving the cue to Alchemist, he comes in with an equally fiery verse, “Spit off like a rotisserie, 180 turn. Shots fired, burn baby burn, straighten the wave in your perm. Cigarillos’ bathing in sherm.” Together, the fiery combination then leads into the ultimately subtle, but jazz styled, “The Man with the Horn.”
The vivid, but still dream-like dinge of The Alchemist and how he describes the city around him. “Stumbled out the bar, vision blurry. Humphrey Bogart face underneath the brim of my derby… Closing hours at the jazz club, seats on the table, the waiter’s sweeping. I’m just a creep in the city that’s full of roaches and junkies that’s never sleeping. Heart is cold, my pockets broken.” The instrumental is seemingly jazz influenced and can be related to the filth that Alchemist and Oh No discuss. It is more of a closing-time style of mellow jazz saxophone that can be associated with the samples of Taxi Driver that discusses, “because this city here is like an open sewer, you know, it’s full of filth and scum.”
Oh No starts his verse in a similar fashion, discussing, “Walk in the club right when the party’s done. I see smut and filth on the ground with gun. It’s looking like a scene out of Old Vegas, Night time and the jazz, jukebox is playing.” He continually discusses how incredibly dirty this club is and how the city around him resembles a pool of filth, “See I’m dirty, but that there’s a dirty foul mouth. Pour another shot to rinse it, off clean and kill that foul out.” The somber feel then fades out into the lively track, “Better Things.”
A head banging boom-bap percussive beat-down opens the instrumental of “Better Things,” and almost instantaneously, Oh No jumps into his verse with an assault of references to Clubber Lang, P.F. Changs, and Kung Lao. Oh No is able to rhyme about, “I keep coming up with more ways to earn them dollar bucks. Monster trucks, crushing you fuckers. Big wheeling, four by four, hauling a two by four, that Jim Duggan.” The Alchemist then comes in still raged off of Oh No’s verse and starts hammering his verse in with, “Look what the kitty drug inside of his mouth, a dirty rat stuck in the city thuggin’… That’s what the challenge is, like GG Allin is flier than fake suede New Balances. Machine gun the label, they fail to pay up the balances.” Making references to the “True King of Rock and Roll,” GG Allin who was known for being a filthy and utterly obscene front man of GG Allin and The Murder Junkies who frequently got naked on stage and would do incredible things on all in the name of punk rock. Alchemist channels this inner energy and completely destroys the track and annihilates the instrumental with his quips and witty wordplay.
The following is “Driving Gloves,” which includes a feature from Young Bronsilino, better known as Action Bronson. The track is a rapid-fired percussion focused instrumental that also relies on a grooving bass-line to make up most of the background as Oh No, The Alchemist, and Bronson all take turns rocking the track. Bronson is up first and his verse, while seemingly short, is still sweet, and contains some of the more intuitive bars from Bam Bam, “Safe to say you ain’t much without your crew, hop. My time is now like a new watch, it’s me.”
The Alchemist is then up next and he uses some bars that describe Donald Trump, hunting like a hawk, and peach cobbler. While Alchemist’s verse is exceptional, Oh No delivers a fantastic verse and describes, “Feel like I ain’t slept for about twenty nights, you look like you just fell down forty flights.” The three triple-team the beat until finally coming to an outrageously disgusting outro that discusses something that is “buried under a mound of feces and hair.” Incredibly disgusting, but leads into the less than engaging track, “Gluttony.”
While interesting in concept, “Gluttony” is ultimately a track that doesn’t change or really add anything immensely interesting. There are sections where a saxophone shines through, but the instrumental is monotonous and unable to save the verses. Alchemist delivers some foul lines about, “Swimming in a bucket of Jankem, over the stove while I’m sizzling my cuts of the steak-ums. Rubbing my belly like a pig, but I don’t fuck with the bacon.” The outro is actually where “Gluttony” is able to shine through and produce a disgusting, but ultimately intriguing segue into the incredibly flashy and star-striking track, “The Scrapyards.”
Blasting cymbals, crowd-chants, and guitars are the foundations for Gangrene’s stylistic beat-down that resembles a reworking of an old classic. The two lyricists, both Alchemist and Oh No are able to tag-team the beat from lines about, “Higher than a vulture then throw ‘em off of a coaster,” or, “the black sheep can get the people on you clapping. Read your story below the caption, this shit made me sick to my stomach.” While still discussing the filth of You Disgust Me, the next track, “Noon Chuckas” is more of a midnight creep and only furthers the grimy feel.
A two-part track, “Noon Chuckas” is able to produce a slick, 90’s style piano and drum beat that combines both a creeping night time, and an elegant tone of sampled vocals and piano runs. The first half is near stalk-like and feels like a silent, paranoid walk though the lonely streets, living by the nighttime. The other half is instead a much different side of the coin, it uses the piano in a way to feel more enlightened, rather than terrified. This could also be accompanied by the vocals that are pitched higher and only finds a conclusion with a gentle fade. The production aspect of You Disgust Me is primarily a wonderful mismatch of both powerful driving beats, but also steps back into gentle and more laid-back instrumentals that instead focus on eloquence over abrasiveness.
The last three tracks are entirely different than the rest of the album and are a tad more experimental than expected. This is entirely true with the tracks, “The Hidden Hand,” and “Hazardous Material.” Honestly, You Disgust Me starts to outwear its welcome and becomes a struggle towards the end of the album. It could have easily ended at “Noon Chuckas,” but instead goes on and does not really make for an impactful ending. The last three tracks, while not entirely bad, are just not on the same level as the rest of You Disgust Me. Overall, the album is a filthy mess, but it is wonderful in these moments and creates pure beauty behind the grime.