[click to read] career has been defined by triumphs and second chances. Few artists in
Rap, short of LL Cool J, have bounced back as many times as the Chicago
pioneer, and for every two lame duck albums Carl Mitchell gives fans,
he strikes back with the kind of force that made 1997’s Adrenaline Rush
or 2004’s Kamikaze [click to read] seem as creative or as motivated as his entrance to
the national consciousness over 17 years ago.

is Twista‘s major label return, having found shelter at Koch between
a reportedly hurtful departure from Atlantic after a decade tenure that
yielded some platinum and gold plaques. Now at EMI, Twista also returns
to working with The Legendary Traxter, the longtime production partner
responsible for Twista‘s most acclaimed music. With his budget and
buddy back in tow, Category F5 seems to prove that Twista‘s fast rap
abilities have never antiquated, and if anything, the rumored addition
to Bone Thugs-N-Harmony [click to read] has his third career comeback well underway,
without losing his core.

“Wetter” [click to listen],
like UGK‘s “Da Game Been Good To Me” [click to view] is a rare example of the label
seeing value in consistency. Produced by Traxter, the female-friendly
song allows Twista to rap rapidly with supreme clarity over a slow jam,
supported by the soothing vocals of Erika Shevon. “Ya Body” is more of
the same, featuring fellow Chicago stalwarts Do Or Die [click to read] and Johnny P, as
Twista‘s lyricism shines a bit more, albeit weighed down by an
extended-metaphor comparing car rear-ends to those on women. “American
Gangsta” removes the females from the equation, as Twista‘s smile fades
to a screw-face as he chronicles the Midwest depression, with a song
(and video) rather similar to the themes at play in Young Jeezy‘s “Put

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A nod to his last comeback, Twista seems most aware of crossover appeal. Category F5 cheapens
its intention in a few places. Although Twista pioneered a lot of the
substance and deliveries coming out of ’00s southern rappers, “Walking
On Ice” with Gucci Mane [click to read] and OJ Da Juiceman feels like Twista is
dropping the kids off at Rap summer camp. This and “Billionaire” with
Busta Rhymes [click to read], find Twista trading his integrity for Ron Browz
imitations and duffle-bag rap that cannot pass the suspension of
disbelief. “Hustla,” a 35 year-old’s obligatory crack-selling song
holds up better than the divisive ploys to sound youthful. After all,
who raps with more energy than Twista? As for the Pop touches, “On Top”
with Akon [click to read] is one of the places that Twista can go beyond and still stay
comfortable in his skin. The song has hit potential, with its strong
sample and energetic sequencing.

accomplishments of Category F5 include Twista‘s sonic return to his
roots. With longtime associate Toxic in tow as well as Traxster, this
emcee is true to both his Chicago roots and his evolution. Then again,
Twista makes the same mistake he has for the last five years, with his
pandering for Pop, with unnatural collaborations and a few painfully
awkward canvases (“Birthday” and “Billionaire”). Kanye West on the
“Alright” [click to listen] (iTunes bonus song) bonus beat makes Twista‘s cipher complete, as
Category F5 maintains the Speedknot Mobsta‘s core, with various audio
souvenirs to mark his evolution along the way, with some new ground and
freshness sealed in too.