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CD REVIEW

Twista: Kamikaze

Thanks to the success of this disc's first single, the sly "Slow Jamz," Twista is the first breakout act of the new year. But the luxurious sound and feel of the single belies what most of the CD is about and much of the MC's past work. Twista has guested on numerous other artists' works and he's best known for his hot-wired tongue, incredibly rapid flow as well as his hardcore worldview. Many of the songs here are simple vehicles for the rapper to spout off with dizzying alliteration, furious internal rhyme schemes, and rapid-fire verbiage. At times, it's mesmerizing and, at times, he comes across like the Yngwie Malmsteen of hip-hop as he's all technical flash but little soul. His subject matter is nothing but typical gangsta blather with lots of boasting and misogyny and it tends to get tiring. But when he's good, as he is on the grungy opening "Get Me" or on the raucous duet with Ludacris, "Higher," the results can be thrilling. For someone with Twista's reputation, the production, by numerous artists including the white-hot Kanye West, R. Kelly, and Toxic, is a bit slick -- you'd hope for less sheen and more grit. The results are ultimately inconsistent, but there's plenty that here that firmly establishes Twista as an MC to reckon with

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