Vodka & Ayahausca
Let’s talk drug of choice. Hip-hop has generally gravitated toward alcohol & marijuana with the occasional foray into hallucinogenics and nose candy (simply reference Raekwon’s OB4CL, pretty sure there’s a few tracks where Ghost & Rae are snorting in the booth). These days hip-hop’s medicine cabinet houses anything from adderall (Danny Brown eats them like TicTacs) to molly to cups of promethazine. Gangrene (Alchemist & Oh No) are here to introduce the South American alternative to absinthe, an apparently delightful little cocktail named Ayahausca. While the authentic versions of the aforementioned potable psychedelics are hard to obtain, the audible equivalent is sponsored in pure throughout this 14 track session. We’re talking about muddy, obscure samples from two of hip-hop’s better craftsmen, last heard on the Greneberg EP and Gutter Water.
Rather than one long trip, each track renders more like a different strand of greenery and the occasional water pipe full of Salvia Divinorum. Some are intense head rushes, others are creeper highs. No tripping balls with bats flying around you somewhere near Barstow stuff though. Instant rushes are felt on tracks like “Drink Up” featuring Roc Marciano, “Dump Truck” featuring Prodigy & “Gladiator Shit” featuring Kool G. Rap while others like “Top Instructors” and “Odds Cracked” require a few coughs to take effect. The Alchemist, while still an average-at-best MC, manages to pull off the rhyming act on most tracks, noted improvements over many of his lyrical endeavors (his penchant for fecal-themed raps is not a good look though). In contrast, Oh No is developing nicely on the mic, his nasal baritone rests favorably against these irreproachable knocks. The production here is sharp and insightful, more straight-ahead than the Gutter Water project, dirty boom bap at its finest.
The interjections and cut-aways punctuating above and below the tracks are sublime and often hilarious, much like the promo videos the Decon crew collected/conjured on Livers For Sale (personal favorite is dude with the pipe and Mr. Miyagi headband). This is just one entertaining ride for hardcore hip-hop fans all the way down the corridor, one that economically rocks your knot at just under 42 minutes. First quarters are usually lackluster, early 2012 may just be remembered as the winter of Ayahausca. Dedicated to those that wanna hear moves.