Skillz Confessions of a Ghostwriter

This homeboy used to go by Mad Skillz and while he apparently ain’t mad anymore, the Virginia native should be awfully frustrated. Forever touted as the next best thing (since 1994), the extremely talented rapper belongs to an ill-fated group of emcees who have the devastating flow, cadence and lyrical wordplay but can’t, for some reason, get that mainstream respect due. Indeed, half of the 13 tracks were originally slated for the stillborn I Ain’t Mad No More album, which was never officially released. This latest release falls short of the classic record fans know that Skillz is capable of. The project clearly tries to be all things to all people — unfocused. He’s got the fresh production (Neptunes, Timbaland), the catchy hooks ("Wave Ya Hands,” "PA to VA”) and the requisite head-nodders ("Skillz vs Shaqwan”), but overall there is a general feeling that this was a rushed effort. But if he is mad, his output on Confessions of a Ghostwriter doesn’t show it. Skillz is clearly just happy to be here, even if it means forever existing in the non-mainstream realm. (Sure Shot)