West Coast hip-hop beats, fast rhymes and A-list guest appearances all sum up Kamikaze. Twista, whose original name was Tongue Twista, is finally achieving some commercial success. With the help of producers like Jazzy Pha (Nappy Roots), Kanye West (Jay-Z, Beanie Sigel and Scarface), and R. Kelly, Twista is able to provide good chemistry on Kamikaze, offering more club beats than fast rhymes.
Twista collaborated with Roc-A-Fella Records artists Memphis Bleek, Young Chris and Freeway on the track “Art & Life (Chi-Roc),” which seems to support the rumor that he’s going to be signed to the Roc-A-Fella label. The song even mentions “Roc” in the title. Also, Twista collaborates with Roc-A-Fella member and fellow Chicago producer/ rapper Kanye West for the tracks, “Overnight Celebrity,” and the current radio hit “Slow Jamz.”
On “Slow Jamz,” Twista shows his comedic side by recruiting comedians Jamie Foxx and Aisha Tyler for the vocals. Foxx also includes Kanye, whose lyrics are known to make people laugh with lines like, “I told her to drive over in your new whip/ I’m gonna bring the cool whip/ then I want you to strip/ she got a light-skinned friend look like Michael Jackson/ got a dark-skinned friend look like Michael Jackson.”
But Twista has a serious and sensitive side with slow and melodious songs like “Hope” and “Sunshine,” featuring Philadelphia singer Anthony Hamilton. The slower tracks are the problems keeping Kamikaze from being the great album it could be. Twista’s rapid-fire flow doesn’t match the slow beats and rhymes he offers.
The club “bangers,” with West Coast and Southern beats resembling something on a David Banner, Lil Jon or Xzibit track are the hits that will give the former Guinness Book of World Record holder as the fastest rapper the commercial success he needs. The strip-club song, “Badunkadunk,” is self-explanatory with the lyrics, “Booty so fat/ you can see an ass from the front.” On “Higher,” Ludacris gives that dirty south style Kamikaze needs.
Kamikaze is a hip-hop album that truly demonstrates Twista’s potential, while offering different flavors of the East Coast, West Coast and down South that rap hasn’t heard in recent years. Expect Kamikaze to be among the sleeper albums of 2004.
Alan Gung can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org