For every mainstream rapper making music strictly to cater to the masses, there’s a slew of MC’s dwelling underground still fighting the good fight for the love of the culture. One such artist is New Jersey native Venomous 2000. When Karl Smith asked me to do a review for this album,this was my first exposure to Venomous so I came into this project listening for what I feel are the fundamentals for a dope MC: lyricism, flow ,personality and beat selection. After several listens, I can say that all these factors are intact.
“He has a voice that was seemingly made for rhyming, full of energy and the lyrical ability to back it up”
Venomous lets it be known that he is heavily influenced by the greats of the game throughout this album with references to several legends, including an excellent tribute to The Fugees with his own rendition of “How Many Mics” and an entire verse with a scheme containing the names of everyone from KRS-One to MF Doom on “To Emcee”. He has a voice that was seemingly made for rhyming, full of energy and the lyrical ability to back it up. “Wake Up” is a standout joint that immediately commanded my attention, particularly the second verse from B3B3. “Time to wake up, strippin’ off the makeup, givin’ you the best that I got…Anita Baker”. That opening bar just stands out to me, it’s simple yet witty, and makes me wanna hear more from her.
The album mainly consists of Venomous collaborating with a host of talented underground MC’s and they all tend to mesh very well. “Hacksaw Jim Duggan” is a lyrical free for all posse cut with Venomous leading the way via a crazy verse over a solid yet frenetic beat. My two personal favorite cuts are “Passaic Edition” with it’s usage of a sample from the classic rock anthem “Whole Lotta Love” by Dennis Coffey and the following track “I Represent”, which is a statement that hip hop’s underground is still alive and vivrant with Venomous his cronies representing to the fullest.
” With just a few tweeks in his strategy, Venomous2000 has the potential to rank among the greats.”
Overall, I enjoyed this album for it’s theme of sticking to hip hop’s roots with thoughtful lyricism and slamming boom bap beats. However, at 25 full tracks in length it became somewhat of a chore to listen to from front to back. That’s bordering on double album length and with the attention span of the average listener being short in today’s world,that’s too long. There are a couple of songs that maybe should not have been included, or perhaps break the set down into two separate releases. Another issue that I had was after hearing this album,I really didn’t have any insight into who Venomous2000 is as a person. I know that he loves the hip hop culture and waves the flag for creativity over cookie cutter rap but what’s his story? What was his life like coming up in Passaic, New Jersey? The greatest artists in any musical genre convey their story and the tales of their environments in their bodies of work. You came away from Illmatic feeling like you knew Nas. You came away from Enter The Wu-Tang feeling like you knew about growing up in Staten Island. As an artist, you want to get the fans invested in you and I just didn’t get that feeling here for the most part. He touches on these things in small doses (the song “You” for example) but he should expand on that. Maybe I missed that because I haven’t heard his previous works but it would do a lot to expand his base. I’m all for guest features however that’s the bulk of this album so it never really feels like it’s his show. Nonetheless, dope album that will definitely keep me checking for his music in the future. With just a few tweeks in his strategy, Venomous2000 has the potential to rank among the greats.