I can’t stop bobbing along to Gangstagrass feat T.O.N.E.Z. and their curious hybrid of hip hop and bluegrass. Their southern sound evokes Nappy Roots for me, but this goes a step further musically with the bluegrass element.
They first came to my attention with their song “Long Hard Times to Come”, which is the theme song for Justified, one of the most underrated TV shows out at the moment.
It follows a deputy federal marshall in Kentucky called Raylan Givens. It’s a got the feel of a Western and some really memorable characters, especially the bad guys. It’s also a (fairly OTT?) portrait of small-town Southern life, playing up to stereotypes at times (Southern manners, the drawl, some hillbilly characters) but also unapologetically proud to put a little-seen part of American culture on display. One of my favourite characters is the contradictory Boyd Crowder, Raylan’s ex-best friend and sometime nemesis, played by Walton Groggins (who did a good turn on The Shield). A show where they develop a good cast of well-rounded characters is always interesting. Justified is also funny, sometimes dark and doesn’t take itself too seriously. You only have to watch Raylan strutting around in his huge stetson to see that they’re playing homage to the Western but also having fun with it.