La Cartita --- Veneno is a Los Angeles rapper from the West LA based SouthSider organization, Harpy's. Operating in music for decades now, Veneno's latest is 'Trap Mexicano', a release on Imperio Oscurio Music Group, available on all major digital platforms. In 'Trap Mexicano', listeners get bombarded with low synth bass and keys that are as unique as they are heavy.
Check out some of Veneno's Fall gear: Dark Empire
Like a complex rock album, Veneno's tracks take more than a few listens to fully appreciate, but after a few workouts - personally, this is my gym music - Dale Gas and Fuego 420 stand out as contemplative music for the roughest part of your day.
Even so, we note some highlights that will jump out immediately.
From The Frontlines: Veneno
We mentioned rock music, and Amenaza, a song recounting drug addiction from various perspectives, would not sound out of place in a Bjork record. At times, we wonder what Veneno samples to get as close to 'Avant Garde' as a gangster rap record can approach, without losing its edge.
Veneno: Fuego-420 off of 'Trap Mexicano' (2018, Imperio Oscuro Music Group)
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With lyrics mostly in Spanish, the album is rhythmically diverse and injects colloquial Mexican
lingo throughout. The track Dale Gas starts out with a chorus that references the
Dale Gas ("make an effort", "go hard") expression to great effect.
'Dale Gas, homie/ Hechale Gasolina/
A quemar a todos/ con estas pinchas rimas /
Dale Gas, homie/ Donde esta la mota//
Para fumar un toque de la mas fina/
Dale Gas, homie/ Hechale Gasolina/
Dale gasolina/ tambien la heroina/
Lo que sale de mi boca/ pura llamas finas'
Drug references - for those at the margins of conventional reality - get tagged along to those old 'refranes y dichos' so dear to the culture, having an equal weight on the album's lyrics. The experience is as literary or cultural as it is sonic.
Amidst the recent plaza wars in Jalisco, the entire album is a defiant stance for Veneno and on that merit alone is worth a listen. A defiant tribute to Mr. Yosie Lokote is left as one of the final gems on the tracklist.
Surprises & Features: Yosie Lokote's post-humous verse.
One of the most menacing rap songs we’ve ever heard. In Las Calles, a Veneno song with a post-humous Yosie Lokote verse, offers a perfect contrast in style and cadence between the two rappers. Yosie, deliberate and slow, while Veneno occupied a different cadence at mid-tempo to match the message that Chicano rap wouldn't stop with a single death.
The track was a tragic reward for rap listeners and observers of Mexico’s violent reality.
Collabs: Tiempos Duros
Sounding like an action movie theme, another highlight off the album was Tiempos Duros, where Conejo makes a guest appearance.
Both rappers alter their voice with a pitch modulator, taking on a more sinister tone. The song outro is a synth pitch effect that adds to the drama, slicing a snippet from 'Blow' to maximum effect.
It's a killer ride, that wouldn't be out of place in a video game opening, which should signal to the new listener what a unique experience the songs offer.