Skillz is probably most well known for his annual 'year in review' tracks, which turn up on the internet once a year, and poke light hearted fun at the events and releases of the past twelve months. The first one was great, and each year they've got slightly less exciting, perhaps because we came to know and expect what the artist was like. That's not the only material he's put out though. He's being going for years, doing numerous guest apperances and tracks for compilations. He's worked with big names such as Timbaland and Missy Elliot, participated in quite a pointless battle between Shaqill O'Neil and himself, and created an album which was bootlegged by the bucketload and that never made it to the shops.
Now he's releasing this project on All City Music, which on paper sounds a lot more correct, as high profile collaborations aside, Skillz is of the high calibre destined for underground stardom rather than MTV fame. The album is attractively of just thirteen numbers, featuring guest spots by Musiq Soulchild, Pretty Ugly, Aaries and others.
'Suzie Q', produced by The Neptunes, features Ceelo and Jazze Pha. It's a mixture of heavy drums and soul and story telling vocals. 'Off The Wall' will be familiar to those who have followed Skillz for some time, and sounds quite electronic at points. 'Wave Ya Hands' has a really nice bouncy tempo, with great guest vocals by Musiq Soulchild. It's one of the album highlights and should be a single. 'Imagine' has a deep reflective lyrical vibe. The album ends with 'Who I Spit For' which has a really stripped down and basic beat, but which remains interesting and original.
It's great to see Skillz releasing an album properly as he's a great lyrical talent with a lot of friends in high and low places to call in favours from, meaning he can easily serve both the mainstream radio junkies and the underground communities. This is a solid album which should justify him getting a buzz about his name back, which started to fade as the delays and label problems grew.