Many times in entertainment, a sequel can be viewed as career suicide; especially if the original is lauded as a groundbreaking piece of work. Known for his intricate and unique instrumentals, Ski Beatz bypassed any ill-conceived thought of choosing a different title for his new album. The tenured producer decided to stare adversity in the face by naming the project 24 Hour Karate School Part 2, the follow-up to last year’s mighty impressive audio martial arts lesson.
Anytime an album assumes the suffix “part two,” the right for comparison remains wide open. Where last year’s album boasted the ambiance of a project that was created through continuity and in-studio chemistry, Ski unfortunately appears to throw this album together with sparse instrumentation like finger snaps, aimless congos and subpar R&B singers. The herky-jerky intro “Metabollic” featuring Locksmith, while having some entertaining moments, was an uninspired way to kick off what was intended a sonically-inspired album. Even the generally-reliable Stalley disappoints with “Larry Bird” as it clocks in at a shade over a minute and a half. However, one of the LP’s lowest moments boast one of its more ironic titles. Cassidy’s “Majesty” (probably better off called “Jester”) adds further proof that The Hustla’s window of opportunity has long since passed. Spiritless punchlines like “You not a thug, you in love with ya man/You a jerk off, like making love to your hand” and a painfully basic organ scale get in Cass’ own way as he attempts to convince anyone who’ll listen that he is still one of the game’s premiere talents.
On the plus side, Freddie Gibbs and Da$h both bring notable and replay-worthy tracks with “Illegal” and “High Score,” respectively. And maybe that was the most telling aspect of the album. It should come as no surprises that when Ski’s beats sounded focused and tailor made, so do the verses from said artists. Even the dark and suprisingly mysterious “Cotton Candy” from Sir Michael Rocks helped do something not seen often on 24HKS2: push the envelope and provide a different sound from what’s normally heard from the Cool Kid.
Like 90% of what’s released these days, Ski Beatz’s sequel has its valleys and peaks. Far from the worst album of the year, fans of the producer should not hold hopes of seeing this praised as one 2011’s better projects when those year-end lists begin to emerge in December; for reasons no more apparent than pulling a rush job on a brand he so powerfully broadcast in its debut. When it comes to Ski Beatz, listeners have conditioned themselves for black belt-style dojo lessons. 24 Hour Karate School Part 2 is more of a blue belt effort.
Label: DD172/BluRoc Records | Producers: Ski Beatz