Twista

Category F5

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A half-decade after breaking through to the mass public as a cagey veteran with the smash "Slow Jams," the man branded the "world's fastest rapper" continues to consistently drop some of the most downright interesting (if uneven and overindulgent) records in the hip-hop universe. With 2009's Category F5, Twista continues his workman-MC streak with quite possibly his tightest record to date. Category F5 opens on the blistering "Misunderstood," as Twista opens by finding a new spin on humor in that most trite aspect of the rap CD, the intro, starting off pretentious before cutting it off with a hilarious head-fake jab worthy of Michael Jordan (or Jonathan Swift). Halfway through the cut, Twista unleashes "kinda like Kurt Cobain/An expert on pain" followed by a torrent of lyrics always one (or two or a million) step(s) ahead of the listener. It's both a whirlwind of language and a bloodletting, a reminder that the rapid-fire rapper possesses one of the most keen (and often) underrated wits in the game as well as one of its darkest minds. Twista is of the streets, but his task is not to extol the glory of the game, but to impassively chronicle the carnage from his own messed-up mind. However unrepentant and proud he fronts on "American Gangsta," waving a raging id as unrestrained as his rhyme style, there's a born-into-it undercurrent to his narrative, his super-speed flow acting as a subliminal machine gun, spit-firing words like "apocalypse" and "nauseous" into an already crackling air. And on it goes, reaching a high note on "Wetter," a sequel to an earlier beloved track, "Get It Wet," as Twista does what he does best, spitting furious about his Don Juan-level love for all the ladies in the world. While Category F5 is by no means a classic (Twista still fares better in short spurts than on whole records), the rapper continues to show off, by turns hilarious, brutal, cerebral, and often just staggeringly random.

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