Editors' pick

Skillz

Hip-Hop/Rap
'

Editorial Review

Skillz (listen) has combined hustle and ability to become one of the most successful hip-hop journeymen in the game. On his debut, "From Where???," he was the quintessential punchline-slinging, cipher-stalking, battle-hardened freestyle rapper scrapping hard for respect in a New York-dominated world. When that well ran dry, he linked up with fellow Virginia natives Timbaland and Missy Elliott. A stint ghostwriting for hitmakers kept his pockets well-lined, and his career has outlasted some of the performers he wrote for. Along the way he's dropped multiple brilliant mixtapes, toured heavily with the Roots and DJ Jazzy Jeff and released three more full-length albums that found devotees even without mainstream attention. Skillz hits at Almaz tonight.

-- Rhome Anderson (April 2009)