» Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]


 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]


 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum
Viktor Vaughn
Venomous Villain
Insomniac, Inc.

Rating: 8/10 ?

October 1, 2004
Like Popeye would say, "I yam what I yam and that's all I yam." And what I yam is a white guy who loves hip hop.

One of the first records I ever listened to, obsessively anyway, was De La Soul Is Dead. I grew up in northeast New Jersey, a stone's throw from New York City, and went to public schools that weren't majority-white. So hip-hop was all around me. Just as my musical passions were beginning in the early nineties, hip-hop was experiencing its greatest era: Wu-Tang Clan's debut. The Chronic. The Low End Theory. The Infamous. Black Moon. Yeah, I listened to the early days of grunge and plenty of classic rock and reggae, too, but for me, hip-hop was always a major part of the mix.

Then came the mid-nineties, and materialism took over the game, with Puffy and the brigade of people who rapped about money, cars, and clothes At that point, I said, again, what Popeye would say, "That's all I can stand, I can't stands no more." What I was digging of the early stuff came from either the intelligent wordplay, like what De La or Tribe were doing, or the gritty street stories, like what Wu-Tang was spitting. This new style of rap was dull. Who the hell wanted to listen to the nuveau-riche brag about driving a Bentley?

So, I stopped listening. It just didn't seem that there was anything left for me to really get into in hip-hop. But my passion for what I originally fell in love with never went away. I could still put on an early favorite and long for a time when something new would come along to match its appeal.

Apparently, though, all the best rap had gone underground. It just took me a while to figure it out. Once I was conscious of what was going on beneath the surface, away from the radio and MTV, I was drawn right back in. And if there's anyone who exemplifies this excellent underground aesthetic, it is MF Doom.

Simply put, MF Doom is everything right about hip-hop. He is one of the best lyricists I've ever heard, combining clever wordplay with unusual references to old science fiction and obscure pop culture. He also produces many of his own beats, and they are usually of the cutting-edge, gritty variety. MF Doom records under a couple of aliases, like King Geedorah, and the one he uses for Venomous Villain, Viktor Vaughn.

If you're familiar with what Doom has been putting out over the last couple of years (Vaudeville Villain, Take Me To Your Leader, Madvillain, etc.), all I have to say about Venomous Villain is that it's more of the same. Which means it is absolutely top-notch, outstanding stuff.

Raw beats, sick rhymes, nothing obvious or tired. Tracks like "Doper Skiller" featuring Kool Keith and "Bloody Chain" will have you nodding your head and praising the hip-hop gods for finally answering your prayers.

If you were like me, suffering from mainstream hip-hop fatigue, an MF Doom record is like spinach. Pop open a can of Venomous Villain and get ready to have your hip-hop muscles grow.

Reviewed by Dan Filowitz
Dan Filowitz is Toronto-born, New-Jersey-raised, Indiana-University-educated, and Chicago-residing. In addition to his Lost At Sea contributions, Dan is a senior staff writer for political humor site TalkStation.com and the president of ChicagoImprovAnarchy (The CIA) a Chicago-based improv theatre company. We are not mentioning the 9-5 corporate job. Apparently, Dan does not sleep much. Dan Filowitz is the perfect dinner party guest - fun, witty, intelligent, with wide-ranging interests, ecclectic tastes and a winning smile. Just make sure you have coffee available.

See other reviews by Dan Filowitz



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