The Deadly Venoms


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In the early '90s, the idea of female rappers was still a novelty. There was Queen Latifah, MC Lyte, Salt 'n Pepa and Roxanne Shante', but nothing compared to male heavy hitters like Run DMC, LL Cool J, Heavy D and later, Sean "Puffy" Combs, Tupac and Biggie Smalls. The Deadly Venoms banded together in 1998 to break that mold. Representing the "fairer, but not weaker" branch of the Wu Tang Clan tree, the Venoms combined their collective expertise and individual styles for their debut, The Antidote, and proved that an all-female posse can lay down a devastating rhyme with the best of them. Their rap themes, emboldened with lyrical and poetic skill, are laced over flavorful loops and explosive hooks. The ladies give it their best shot, most notably N-Tyce on the cutting track "Slice Like Swords," where her North Carolina drawl spews unapologetically as she boasts about her power to attract the opposite sex. Wu Tang Clan's RZA, Inspectah Deck, Method Man, Ol' Dirty Bastard are all on hand to lend their hard-edged touch to the mix and, in so doing, succeed in outshining their proteges. Not to worry. The Deadly Venoms couldn't have asked for better teachers and partners. While The Antidote may not cure your hunger for rap, it will certainly ease the pangs. It's not really filling, but it tastes alright.

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