On the heels of his two 24 Hour Karate School compilations, Ski Beatz drops 24 Hour Karate School Presents Twilight, another project brimming with majestic production, dynamic lyricism, and conceptually strong songs. A veritable cornucopia of some of the best young talent in hip-hop, Twilight would be a good starting point for heads not familiar with some of the youth in the game now or those disillusioned by the monochromatic stylings of the few MC that get prominent radio play.
Kicking off with “Do It For The Green,” featuring Dash & Retch, and on overreliance of raps that rhyme the same word over and over again, one could suspect that this album will not reflect the same quality as Ski’s other recent compilations. All concern is immediately rectified when Curren$y grabs the mic on “Fly By.” Riding a bumping beat, guitars, and a variety of background sounds, Spitta shows why he is one of the catchiest young heads in the game. From this point forward, Twilight rarely displays any chinks in its armor.
Song concepts are the name of the game on the album, and “City Lights,” featuring Najee, is the cream of the crop—reminiscent of a 21st century version of Kool G Rap’s “Streets of New York.” Najee’s prominent and commanding voice captivates as he tells tales about the city where he resides. Another thematic standout track finds Murs teaming with compatriot Tabi Boney for “Hip Hop And Love,” with a chorus, “I remember the first time we hooked up, can’t remember the last time we broke up.” Running through different memories of loves throughout their lives, and the different points where hip-hop intertwined with those situation, it’s a worthy homage. Mac Miller, Stalley, and Rugz D. Bewler also have have strong showings on the 11-track offering.
Awkward opening track aside, 24 Hour Karate School Presents Twilight is a solid concoction and will particularly resonate with those fed up with the couple of usual suspects dominating the charts. Ski’s production is varied, moody, ambient and complimentary to each artist that flows over it. Hopefully more gems like this are up his sleeves, as the veteran producer first known for his work during Jay-Z’s early days has breathed new life into his career by again working with hungry upstarts. It sure doesn’t seem like Ski Beatz is entering the Twilight of his production days. —Matt Wright