As I mentioned the other day, I’m launching a new ‘Inside’ feature on FSD, where I preview ‘highly anticipated’ upcoming albums from various Chicago artists, and give my honest feedback on their respective efforts. I’m going to try and digest about 5-7 of the artists favorite [read: best] tracks per album, and then report back to you, the FSD readers on my findings. I have quite a few artists in the pipeline, but I wanted to kick things off with a Windy City legend, Twista.
This past weekend I had the pleasure of listening to select tracks from Twista’s eighth studio release, Category F5, which is due out June 16th, 2009 on Get Money Gang/EMI. This album has been hyped as his long-awaited return-to-form with The Legendary Traxster. Even though Trax supplies four or five joints on the album, none of the songs previewed for me featured his production. Some things are just worth waiting for, I guess. So check out my thoughts on a handful of songs from the likes of Swizz Beatz, Jim Jonsin and Toxic below.
Note: I am not writing about any of the tracks that have leaked thus far, including “Wetter”, “Billionaire” and “On Top” (feat. Akon)
“Problems” (feat. Tech N9ne)
This track really stood out to me due to the ridiculous (in a good way) sample that’s weaved into the chorus; not to mention the beat absolutely knocks. On this track Twista hooks up with Kansas City’s Tech N9ne, who is equally as fast with the rapid-fire delivery. I never really got too heavy into Tech N9ne, but I know he’s widely respected in KC and has a reputable following. You could tell both emcees were trying to out-spit one another on here. I’m looking forward to hearing this joint again.
“Birthday” (Prod. by Swizz Beatz)
“Birthday” is going to be the viral single for the album, and will also be released in conjunction with a Verizon Wireless campaign. You can hear a portion of the song in the behind-the-scenes footage I posted from the video shoot last weekend. I can best describe it as the love child of Twista’s “Give It Up” and Swizz Beatz “Money In The Bank”. The track is unquestionably infectious, so couple that with a glossy video filled with eye candy, and I think the song could really grow some legs. The extra push from Verizon won’t hurt either.
“She Got It” (feat. Bobby Valentino) (Prod. by Jim Jonsin)
The big second single from Category F5. EMI labelmates, Twista and Bobby V, hook up with hip hop’s current in-demand hitmaker, Jim Jonsin, and set their sites on a radio smash. It could easily be Twista’s biggest hit since “Slow Jamz” if it gets the right push.
“Ready My Mind” (Prod. by Toxic)
Toxic and his China White Production team, who are Twista’s in house squadron, were all in attendance while these select cuts were playing. “Ready My Mind” was certainly a banger with all team members contributing – from the beats, to the concepts to the hooks. They also played me a joint that isn’t quite finished, “Don’t I Look Strapped”, that sounds like “A Millie” on steroids.
“Secret L.O.V.E.R.” (Prod. by Jim Jonsin)
Another radio-ready Jim Jonsin production…Top 40-style. It’s a little slower than the Bobby V record, but equally as dope. I may actually like this one better than the other Jim Jonsin joint, but I’ll have to hear them both again to give my final ruling.
In Closing: As you can see, I heard most of the potential singles, and the “bigger” records, and not much of the street shit that Twista is best known for. However, I was told not to worry, as the four tracks he completed with Traxster will take listeners back to the sound we’ve missed since the late 90s. I also heard a joint that Twista recently knocked out with R. Kelly that is set to appear on Kells upcoming effort, due out later this year. If this is any indication of what to expect from Category F5, I’m going to go ahead and make the claim that Twista is back. Don’t ever count a true Champion.