Music Monday: Gangstagrass – Band Fuses Rap and Bluegrass

I was watching a football game yesterday and a commercial came on for Sagamore Spirit, a rye whiskey.

But it wasn’t  the whiskey that caught my attention, it was the music:

Gangstagrass is a group of musicians in New York City, most known for the theme song of the FX television show Justified. The group is founded and led by Brooklyn producer Rench (Oscar Owens), and combine authentic bluegrass and rap into a new genre.

Initially formed in 2006, Gangstagrass started to see its music reaching a wide audience when the band’s song “Long Hard Times to Come”, evidently inspired by Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Things Goin’ On”, was selected to be the opening theme song of the acclaimed on FX in early 2010. On July 8, 2010, Gangstagrass producer Rench and rapper T.O.N.E.Z were nominated for an Emmy in the category of Outstanding Original Main Title Theme Music for “Long Hard Times to Come.”

The Justified series is based on the work of writer Elmore Leonard, who was a fan of Gangstagrass’ music:

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

Here’s a more recent video of the band singing Ride with You. I wonder what Clive will think 😀



13 thoughts on “Music Monday: Gangstagrass – Band Fuses Rap and Bluegrass

  1. What a different sound! Not exactly my jam, but I appreciate the creativity that goes into mixing genres that don’t normally go together.


  2. Thanks for the name check! It might come as a surprise that I didn’t find that as awful as I was expecting! Very creative fusion of styles, and the rap parts were almost comprehensible. The female vocalist/fiddle player was the strong part of the first video, for me, though I’m not sure she would have been a good fit with the male harmonies in the second one, which had a relaxed, laid back feel that I enjoyed. In Scottish law there is a verdict ‘not proven,’ which is neither guilty or not guilty: I think I’d apply it in their case 😉


  3. May I suggest you listen to this earlier recording of the Barnburning? This fiddler, Melody Allegra, has an earthier and more visceral, even gritty quality to her voice that I think better suits the song

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