24 Hour Karate School, Ski Beatz, 2010
Last year, I had a conversation with a coworker of mine about something that reminds me of 24 Hour Karate School. She (the coworker) had inside contacts with someone that owns the Lyricist Lounge and I remember saying to her that they needed to create a new compilation album like the old Lyricist Lounge compilation albums and the Soundbombing volumes from the 90’s. I remember saying that albums like that are needed right now. Since then, there have been two compilation albums that have ranked up there with those compilations since, they dropped about a decade ago. The first one, I won’t be writing about right now, is Jake One’s White Van Music (2008). The second one is this album by Ski Beatz called 24 Hour Karate School. Obviously, I didn't say that a year ago. But the idea still holds true today. Solo albums, group albums, instrumental albums, dj mixtapes and all star compilation albums were dropping all over the place in the 90's and that is one reason why so many people look back at that time with nostalgia.
Ski Beatz has been around for a while. He worked a lot with Jay Z on Reasonable Doubt (and he also worked with Camp Lo on their debut album, Uptown Saturday Night (1997) and their following albums. I didn't know this but apparently, Ski Beatz had his hands all over another great album from 2010, Curren$y's Pilot Talk. I remember Curren$y shouting "Ski Beatz!" in Breakfast, but it was the first tine that I really remember hearing or reading Ski Beatz' name.
24 Hour Karate School has an underground roster of lyricists that can compete with anyone out there today. When you throw in Ski Beatz production, you have a classic album. I am not going to lie. I'm not a fan of Jim Jones, but this is the second time that I have been impressed by his word play. He is talented and I think that if his career took a different, more experimental direction, my perception of him would be different. The Black Keys album, Blackroc (2009) is the other album where I walked away impressed by Jim Jones. He lays down verses and the hook for a raw song called “Go”, where he collaborated with Curren$y. It could mean that I need to listen to more of Jim Jones or maybe I have found a couple tracks where Jim Jones tried something different and I like them as a coincidence.
Collaboration! There are some really interesting collaborations on this album. Like I said a second ago, Jim Jones and Curren$y teamed up on “Go”. Jean Grae, Jay Electronica and Joel Ortiz laid down solid verses on “Prowler 2”. On a side note, I heard a rumor that Jay Electronica has a place near my apartment in Brooklyn. He throws out some lyrics that gives some credibility to the rumor. He says, shooting the Willie Bobo, out on Nostrand with the po’ folks.” I live on Nostrand & Atlantic.
Back to collaborations……… Curren$y and Wiz Khalifa are featured on “ScalingThe Building”. Tabi Bonney, Nikki Wray, Ras Kass and Stalley all added vocals and lyrics to the old school rock/blues guitar filled track called “Got Mines.”
Solos! It’s not all cumbaya on 24 Hour Karate School though. There are some really strong solo tracks too. Curren$y opens the album with a solid track called “Nothing But Us”. Stalley, a mc from Ohio, puts in some work on a tough track called “S.T.A.L.L.E.Y”. Tabi Bonney adds his twist in a song called “Not Like Me”. A mc that I have never heard of before this album, called Rugz D Bewler shows his offbeat skills on a track that is probably my favorite of the album called “Super Bad”.
Instrumentals! Ski Beatz takes one note producers to 24 Hour Karate School on this album. He manages to put together some really strong collaboration tracks, impressive solo tracks and he also throws in a couple cool instrumental tracks at the end of the album to smooth out the listening experience. There is something for everyone and the featured artists are from all over the country (west/midwest/south/east).
Featured Track I hinted toward this track above, but Rugz D Bewler’s track, “Super Bad” is a hilarious track where Rugz’s lyrics make you bob your head to a different beat than Ski’s deep background bass.
[audio:http://ra-nyc.com/boywithstick/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/08-ski_beatz-super_bad_feat._rugz_d_bewler.mp3|titles=Super Bad (feat. Rugz D Bewler)]
Top Tracks (10 of 12 tracks) Nothing But Us, Go, Prowler 2, S.T.A.L.L.E.Y., Not Like Me, Scaling The Building, Super Bad, I Got Mines, Back Uptown, Cream of the Planet, Taxi.