Breaking the Mold of Traditional Genres

By Diane DiMemmo

November 21, 2020


Photo Credit: Melodie Yvonne

If you're stuck in a rut with what you're listening to on your playlists and are looking to broaden your musical horizons, let me suggest you give a listen to the Bluegrass/Hip-hop project - Gangstagrass! In their own words, Gangstagrass "is a dirty fightin', gator wrestlin', foot stompin', genre bustin', Billboard chartin', Emmy nominated team of Bluegrass Hip-hop pioneers." Now if that doesn't make you want to check them out, I don't know what will!

Justified Theme Song - "Long Hard Times To Come"

With dynamic, charismatic rapping set to the accompaniment of the twangy banjo and fiddle, this unique group has cemented their status as innovative musical pioneers in an industry awash in sameness. They've toured relentlessly (nationally and internationally) to build a substantial following, as evidenced by the millions of times their music has been streamed and their videos watched. And they unconventionally use their live performances to improvise, experiment, and develop new material.


Photo Credit: Melodie Yvonne

Actually, there’s so much material that Gangstagrass has released nine full-length albums within the last ten years, two in 2016 alone! Their breakout song "Long Hard Times to Come" opened every episode of six seasons of the hit TV series Justified and was nominated for an Emmy Award in 2010. Their 2019 live album Pocket Full of Fire spent 20 weeks in the top 10 Billboard bluegrass charts, making it to the #2 spot. And Gangstagrass’ most recent album – No Time For Enemies – is garnering much critical praise and positive fan support. The band just released the brand-new video for one of the singles “Affirmative.” 


Another thing that was necessary for the album, beyond the messages, was very much an AFFIRMATION that we were doing this exactly the way that we wanted to. Even though the song IDEA had existed for a while, pre-pandemic and all, there's been a sense from some that what we were doing was a gimmick, flash in the pan sort of thing. NOPE. in fact the truth is, we do what we do, in 100 percent hip hop/100 percent bluegrass mannerisms and 'ain't nobody gonna stop us now' or ever. 'Fresher than a grocer/you already no bruh,' we 'bring a mix of the rugged and the rustic.' And that's AFFIRMATIVE!”

- Gangstagrass

Make sure to add NO TIME FOR ENEMIES by Gangstagrass to your playlist today!!



Rench: vocals/guitar/beats

Dan Whitener: banjo/vocals

Brian Farrow: fiddle/vocals

R-SON the Voice of Reason: vocals

Dolio the Sleuth: vocals

Photo Credit: Janet Mami Takayama

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Diane DiMemmo stumbled into and fell in love with Asbury Park and photography in 2017. An avid concert fanatic and former musician, she recognized the need for a Jersey Shore music publication to highlight the accomplishments of local and national musicians through photos and press. Asbury Park Vibes has been her labor of love ever since, along with her Golden Retriever – Cooper – who you’ll often see walking Diane through the streets of Asbury.

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