I must first admit that as of late I have been slowly becoming disillusioned with hip hop music. There was once a time when this music was consistently dope, at the forefront and in abundance. When these dark clouds begin to surround me and I start to drift away from the culture, a glimmer of hope drags me back to continue this love affair with hip hop. In walks Jersey native Venomous 2000 and Serbian producer X Trilian with “Sounds Of The Great Ones” and order is once again restored to the hip hop universe!
I love to write album reviews, but before I transcribe my thoughts I first must fully digest the offering. With that being said I listened to ‘Sounds Of The Great Ones’ constantly from when it first dropped a few months back. I don’t believe in flicking through the contents of an album then hurrying out a quick review. This album was no exception. In fact, I probably spent more time absorbing the contents of this album than any of V’s previous work including the most excellent Will To Power.
First off, the album cover art is fresh and the title is fitting. You instantly get a good feeling that the content is going to be dope. The next thing I noticed is the number of awesome guest spots on this album, the older heads will definitely recognise and appreciate some big names from the 90’s and early 2000’s including The Artifacts, Cella Dwellas, Inspectah deck, 9th Prince, Tiye Phoenix, C Rayz Walz and Shabaam Sadeeq.
Venomous opens up with “Know Things,” hard hitting lyrics over a hard hitting beat from Trillian and some ill cuts from UK turntablist DJ TMB. Trillian is not a producer I’m familiar with but after this one I’m already wanting to hear more. A stand out track in my opinion is “Hot Damn” oooooweeeeeee!!! It’s a banger! Venomous, El Da Sensei, Tame One and Tiye Phoenix trade verses over some neck snapping production from Trillian. DJ Trickalome adds the finishing touches with some very nice cuts. Every verse is dope but Tiye Phoenix blows the spot on the track finale showing that she is indeed officially up there with the top femcees in the game.
After listening to “Homecoming” I felt it didn’t fit with the style of the rest of the album. Don’t get me wrong I enjoyed it but it was like I was suddenly listening to a different album. The original “Rock The Bells” was my introduction to Venomous back in 2011 and when I saw “Rock The Bells PT2″ on this track list I was full of anticipation. Just as I hoped, it didn’t disappoint. You won’t hear a better opening verse than the one V2G drops on this, it is flames! The combination of Reks and C Rayz Walz who add their own individual and unique styles heightens the all round listening experience. Again the production from Trillian and cuts from DJ TMB are near perfect.
Things slow down a little bit on “My Grandma Used To Say” A beautifully produced song that I immediately fell in love with. Venomous rides this hypnotic beat perfectly, his therapeutic verses had me reminiscing back to different times in my life. Shabaam Sadeeq and the Cella Dwellas lend a hand on “Products Of Evironment“. All four lyricists flex their mic skills to great effect, weaving in and out of Trilians production with the smoothest of flows. Another thumbs up.
Any comic fans out There? I’m a big fan of MF Doom and all the alias’s he uses on his albums and intros. I must say that I’ve never heard anything quite like “Marvelous” and the reference to so many Marvel characters on one track from venomous which is just exceptional. V shines here and shows just how gifted he is as a writer.
Just when you thought things couldn’t get any better, along comes a Wu-Tang / Venomous combination on “Make Ya Speakers Pop.” This time Inspectah Deck , 9th Prince and NLZ step up to the mic. Trilian has pulled out all the stops on the production here and you can’t help but nod your head to this beat. DJ TMB lays his artistry to the cuts.
I kind of expected a low point towards the end of the album, but that didn’t actually happen, quite the opposite in fact. Over the course of the album I listened to a side of Venomous I’ve not heard before, a more aggressive mc and a more aggressive approach to his flow, an mc with the versatility to stand along side anybody on a track and shine. “Psalms 76” is one of my favourite joints on the album. V spazzes out without drawing breath and spits some heavy bars. I don’t live in the hood or remotely near anywhere dangerous but this had me stomping through the quiet streets of my home town like a Universal soldier. “It’s Over” is a short track acting like a musical outro. Still very dope all round. Conclusion, I’ve spent a lot of time with Venomous 2000’s music overall and he continues to produce albums that go from strength to strength. He always seems to grow and add something different to his arsenal on every joint. V is one of the few that still rides and bleeds for hip hop, something his fanbase will be most appreciative of. V proves time and again he can stand alone or shine alongside some of hip hops elite. The production on this album was top notch throughout. As I said before Trilian is a producer I was unfamiliar with but after listening to this I will definitely be checking for him in the future. The chemistry was almost like these guys had been working together for years. Hats off to DJ TMB and DJ Trickalome for making this album sound complete with all the dope cuts. All in all this is a dope sounding hip hop album that gave me a lot of listening pleasure. 4/5