To say that motor-mouthed Twista and producer Toxic took their time getting Kamikaze out is an understatement. Released nearly five years after his last album and promoted by the rapper since 2001, Kamikaze finally dropped in one of the least popular months for music buying, January. The long-talked-about Timbaland team up ended up on Timbaland's album, and Kamikaze's original single, "Tattoo," landed on Toxic and Twista's Legit Ballaz project instead. Seems like Kamikaze is doomed from the start, but it's actually a fair album for two main reasons: the new lead single, "Slow Jamz," and the killer guest productions of Kanye West. West is at the helm for "Slow Jamz," producing, singing, and delivering what could be the couplet of 2004: "She got a light-skinned friend look like Michael Jackson/Got a dark-skinned friend look like Michael Jackson." Between the speedy Luther Vandross samples, Jamie Foxx's verse, and West name-checking all of the heroes of pillow-talk radio, there's just enough room for Twista's rapid rap. Twista's style is stunning, doubly so for any aspiring rappers, but for those who just listen, it lacks the depth to carry a full album on its own. Still, his in-and-out appearances on other artists' tracks whetted the appetite for more, and Kamikaze delivers past the single. "Still Feels So Good" is a worthy sequel to Adrenaline Rush's "It Feels So Good," "So Sexy" features a slinky R. Kelly appearance, and "Get Me" finds Toxic's production coming off as cinematic where elsewhere it's just anemic. Two slower numbers toward the end -- the introspective "Hope" and the Bill Withers-sampling "Sunshine" -- go a long way to expand the album's narrow spectrum, and Twista's skills adjust nicely to the mellow pace. Whatever the reasons for Kamikaze's delay, it does make for near-perfect timing for the both stunning and limited rapper. One album per five years, monthly guest spots, and the occasional brilliant single equal just the right amount of Twista.
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AllMusic Review by David Jeffries
feat: R. Kelly
feat: Anthony Hamilton