Underground Spotlight: Venomous 2000 The Ultra Emcee
Let me just start by saying that his new album is a classic, and not just because I’m featured on it. To be honest, at the time of recording my verse for Venomous 2000’s seventh track off of this album, I was not aware of the fact that I was going to be contributing to a collection of art of such a high caliber.
A Moment to Reflect 3 is a twenty six track album consisting of the music of Venomous 2000, The Ultra Emcee, and many other emcees from all over the world, including myself, recorded together over the span of three years. This is truly a worldly album, produced by different producers from many places including, but not limited to, New Jersey, London, France and Germany. All of the songs were mixed in Serbia by Trillian. This is just another testament to the reach Venomous’ music has, aside from the fact that the music itself is relatable to all walks of life.
An acapella quote sets the thought provoking mood of the album: “Take time to reflect. Take time…to reflect, and I’ve had to learn that because just taking time to reflect has taught me how to appreciate the hard work that I’ve already put in, to where I’m trying to be in my life, to where I’m already headed…”
I felt like my mind was forcibly opened to accept the art that was about to enter, and accept I did. While the album maintains the hard knocking sound that makes true hip hop music distinct from other genres (the loud kicks and snares that keep one’s head nodding, the cuts and vinyl scratches, done by DJ Priority, the down to earth soulful samples, etc.), the album still does take an experimental approach. This is apparent on songs like “Style In Here” (Produced by Repeat Pattern), where you can hear the sample in the background drifting in and out of of the auditory realm of the music, rolling in when Venomous and Mr. Fickle drop their punchlines, as well as “Certified Raw” (Produced by Phalo Pantoja) where the beat sounds like random piano keys and synths rummaged together.
As the songs continue to blast, one can understand the aggression from which this style of production stems from. While “Certified Raw” was my least favorite cut off the album, I appreciate Venomous for taking a leap with unorthodox production, especially now when most rap beats lack originality.
While each song’s amassed sounds pour into my ears I felt like the beats told the story with Venomous, aiding him in telling each story each track was intended to express. These stories spanned from informal (“You Don’t Know” produced by Handbook), to inspirational (“You” produced by Boogie Brown), and ominous and intriguing (“The 4th Kind” produced by MecStreem).
“The 4th Kind” is definitely a favorite, on which Venomous raps about being abducted by aliens looking for humans who are mentally strong, describing symptoms of markings on his body that can only mean aliens were observing him, visually dissecting him without Venomous being conscious of it. I won’t reveal the end of the story but I’ve never heard a story like it put into song form. This type of daring creativity defines this album as a classic. For real hip hop heads, I’m sure it takes us all back to a time when all of this originality was standard within hip hop, but for such a collection to be released at least that standard has the chance to resurface, forcing all mediocre rappers who listen to it to reevaluate their mastery on the art of emceeing.
The album’s recurring theme is one of positivity, promoting unity and elevation amongst humanity through informal and emotionally enriching lyricism. The album’s many features assisted Venomous in getting these points across, including myself when I rapped “The world got many problems, and I ain’t no superman/ But you ain’t gotta be Einstein just to understand/ That united is the only way our people stand a chance/ So I take a stand, making me the biggest threat to their plan” on “Wake Up” (Produced by Pejota).
On the tenth track, “You”, Thaione Davis sheds light on the misconceptions of black history when rapping, “It takes a nation just hold us back/Thats why they reshape facts, and write us out of the tales/ Like we never contributed or excelled before we pickin’ in fields”, and on the last song, “Rock After Them” (Produced by DJ Irs), Rhymageddon raps for the sheer sport of emceeing with lines like “Grow some cashews. / I cause a bloody snafu/ Couple jabs to land you and grant you with stab wounds in ya dome like shampoo/ For them damn Andrews and Benjamins-/ Don’t send em’ in!/” That’s just how I like my lyricism: Vivid and brilliant.
I asked Venomous about how he came to make such connections and his answer was, “I had the privilege to work with some amazing folks in France and Belgium during my first tour in 2012. That entire experience kind of opened me up to dealing with people from outside of the states on a much more consistent basis. I sought to do work with everyone I like, anywhere they resided…I had a vision to work with certain emcees over certain beats and I sort of hand picked those people I thought would sound nice over certain production. I was blessed to be surrounded by so many talented individuals.”
This album is a must for those who desire to enter or re-enter the world of underground hip hop in its truest form.
In my interview with him I asked him what message he ultimately wanted this album as a whole to tell the world. He answered by saying “The message is quite simple, I have a voice, thoughts, and something to contribute to the culture of Hip Hop. I want this album to be another timeless project that people will appreciate more and more after listening to the album several times. I want this album to tell people that I truly do live this musical experience and A Moment To Reflect 3 is a testament to that truth!”
From listening to all twenty-six tracks, I feel he was successful in this goal. Even though this album is the end to a trilogy, one does not necessarily need to listen to the two previous albums to fully understand this one. However, after listening to the album I am eager to check out Venomous’ past projects and I am excited for whatever the Ultra Emcee has in store. I am attracted to his passion as an artist, which he told me stems from “The Creator, The Creators, The Ancestors, my immediate family, and the Voice that is deep within me that says I can not stop doing this because there’s a message that needs to be heard! I don’t claim anything, I’m just a vessel doing the work of forces that are much greater than me!”
I give this album a 9.3 out of 10, and I definitely recommend this album to anyone interested in real Hip Hop music, but don’t just take my word for it.
or purchase it here: