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Ski Beatz, 24 Hour Karate School Part 2

The man responsible for Jay-Z’s classic tracks “Dead Presidents” and “Feelin It,” Camp Lo’s “Luccini” and Curren$y’s Pilot Talk and Pilot Talk 2 is back with the second installment of his 24 Hour Karate School series. The first installment dropped last year, along with a Japanese version featuring some of Japan’s hottest MCs. Now, the former Original Flavor member looks to keep the momentum rolling with 24 Hour Karate School Part 2.

On this LP, The legendary producer shows the evolution of his sound by tweaking his patented boom bap with live drums and ditching samples in favor of guitar heavy beats, giving the album a rock, garage band-type experience that most hip-hop fans would otherwise not be familiar with. “Illegal,” bolstered by Freddie Gibbs vocals, embodies the rock-influenced tone of the album. The Indiana MC’s show stealing track’s catchy hook, his double time flow in the opening verse over a smooth bass loop, and live punchy drums give this song the most replay value on the album.

Another standout is the horn heavy “Lookin for Me,” which pairs Chicago rap duo LEP Bogus Boys with British artist Terri Walker, using her English accent on the hook to give the disc some international flavor. Cassidy makes an appearance on “Majesty” but the effort is far from majestic, as the Philadelphia native sounds out of place and his punchlines forces.

Even with a rougher sound than most are used to from Ski Beatz, 24 Hour Karate School Part 2 again proves that the veteran beatsmith remains a master of his art. —Mike Hennix

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