Ski Beatz – 24 Hour Karate School | Album Review

Whilst many Hip Hoppers around the world still fawn over the magical period of the ’90s and events and radio stations regularly continue to blare out the decade’s most awe-inspiring music, Ski Beatz – acclaimed producer and a major influence in defining the sounds of the ’90s – brings forth an updated version of that special Hip Hop feeling with his 24 Hour Karate School album.

Not to be misinterpreted as an institution teaching the Wu Tang Clan’s Shaolin ways, this is a collaborative project showcasing the new school of raps talents accompanied by the seminal producer’s blazing beats.

For an album with a kick ass name, 24 Hour Karate School opens with a hazy, laid back vibe on “Nothin’ But Us” which fittingly features Smoke DZA and New Orleans starlet Curren$y on rap duties.

The gear shifts into a heavier mood as the dope “Go,” featuring Jim Jones alongside Curren$y once again, delivers verbal assaults. What’s appealing about this album is the essence of its “straight rhyming, no gimmicks” motif which adds an edge to each track.

The featured emcees sound hungry and deliver aggressively such as on “Prowler 2,”  which sees Jay Electronica and Jean Grae seemingly compete for the top verse, whilst Cleveland, Ohio heavy hitter Stalley causes severe lyrical damage on his self-titled track, “S.T.A.L.L.E.Y.”

Ski’z diverse production represents for Hip Hop heads across the US continent; from the drum heavy kicks for east coast natives, to the charismatic pimp-esque feel of the Midwest (found on the Wiz Khalifa featured “Scaling The Building”). Ski even brings on-board ’90s duo Camp Lo (whom he produced for on their 1997 Uptown Saturday Night album) for “Back Uptown” – albeit their popular ’70s throwback sound is absent.

24 Hour Karate School kicks open the classroom doors as a new wave of artists shine under the influence of Ski Beatz’ tremendous score. Whilst there’s a list of other rappers who could have added even more freshness to the project, the majority of those on-board are able to keep up with the legendary producer.

Ski’s productions are pulsating and raw but still in tune with some of today’s offerings. A project which could spawn many more sequels a la the Lyricist Lounge/Soundbombing series, 24 Hour Karate School superbly unifies the golden generation with the future.

–Henry Yanney

24 Hour Karate School is out now via BluRoc Records. [Amazon]

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