Twista | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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One problem with being the Guinness-certified world's fastest rapper is that you're in constant danger of getting written off as a novelty act. So it's brave (or foolhardy) of Twista to accept the role producer Kanye West casts him in on the hit single "Slow Jamz." Early in the song West is sweet-talking a new lady friend, but things go better than he can handle, and she starts calling out "Faster!" "I can't do it that fast," West admits, "but I know somebody who can." Enter Twista, who transcends gimmickry by rolling out one of the sharpest raps of his career. Providing a sexual play-by-play with one ear on the bedroom sound track, Twista talks about getting the "sheets wet listening to Keith Sweat" and rhymes "bend your ass" with "Teddy Pendergrass." By the time he closes the deal--"No matter how much of a thug you see, I still spit it like it's R & B"--it's clear that the wooden Fabolous should never be allowed to rap anywhere near an Ashanti chorus again. Nothing else on Kamikaze (Atlantic), Twista's first major-label album since 1998, is that astounding, though two other West-produced tracks stand out: the opener, "Get Me," uses horn flourishes, a grandiosely rippling piano, and a sped-up voice squeaking "Here I am" to announce the MC's triumphant return, and on "One Last Time" Twista's knack for detail fleshes out a borderline-cliched tale of a hustler's last score. But since this album was delayed for two years--as Twista juggled negotiations with Atlantic and Roc-a-Fella while hanging onto his own Legit Ballin' label--we're lucky to hear any of it. With Crucial Conflict, Mike Luv, Diz, and DJ Pharris; the second show is sold-out. Monday, January 26, 7:30 PM, and Tuesday, January 27, 9 PM, House of Blues, 329 N. Dearborn; 312-923-2000.

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