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Ganstagrass’s second album Rappalachia continues the band’s project to create legitimate bluegrass hip hop. While many fans of the TV show Justified enjoyed the band’s twangy-rap theme song, many sceptics feel that to merge genres is to besmirch the good names of both. However respectful mastermind Rench’s approach, the album reinforces the latter; rapping is typically slapped over bluegrass awkwardly. That said, both folk musicians and hip hop artists excel in their performances; two instrumental tracks Rapalachia G and Crossbow show off some energetic contemporary bluegrass, while rap tracks like the opening Gunslinging Rambler featuring R-SON, and the emotive Dollar Boss by political duo Dead Prez, cleverly celebrate the violent and hard-times-themed imagery both genres partake in. Female rapper Nitty Scott MC performs on Red Sky Morning and Country Blues with singer Brandi Hart, and is a rising talent who helps make standouts of the two tracks. Considering African American and European Southern music share common roots (creating the banjo and fiddle, respectively), fusing blues, rap and country should be greater than the sum of its parts. Unfortunately, this album isn’t. **

Written by Jerico Mandybur