Twista: The Legendary Twista
In his recent interview with HipHopDX, Twista graciously addressed the aforementioned criticisms of his content, as well as at least one critic of his sixth solo disc, Adrenaline Rush 2007 - that former critic being The Legendary Traxter. The man behind the boards for Twistas reemergence on the national Rap scene in 1996 via Do Or Dies smooth players anthem Po Pimp, as well as for the spitters classic Midwest gangsta LP released the following year, Adrenaline Rush, has since reunited with the Chi-Town poet following a messy falling out.
And that reunification couldnt have come at a better time. With the Traxter-produced Wetter currently sitting at #3 on the Billboard Hot Rap Tracks Chart (with a sure-to-be equally successful single in the Trax-laced Yellow Light, featuring R. Kelly, soon to follow), Twista can now have the last laugh at Atlantic Records, his label home of a decade, who following the relatively disappointing commercial reception to Adrenaline Rush 2007 reportedly offered to re-up with the veteran by offering him the type of 360 deal usually reserved for nave newcomers. Instead of accepting that arguably insulting offer, Twista chose to partner his own label, GMG (Get Money Gang) Entertainment, with EMI/Capitols distribution muscle for his recently released seventh solo effort, Category F5.
In addition to his new album (and its several scrapped cuts), Twista spoke with DX about occasional collaborator Kanye Wests absence from F5, revealed that both Traxter and No I.D. are uniting for his next project, explained how with the No I.D.-produced Death Of Auto-Tune Jay-Z wasnt talking about Twistas usage of the software, and shed light on both his current plan to formally join Bone Thugs-N-Harmony for an album as the groups sixth member as well as his now forever lost plan to collaborate with a fellow certified Midwest legend.
HipHopDX: First off man, just wanna congratulate you on the success of Wetter." How does it feel to have the biggest hit youve had since Slow Jamz?
Twista: It feel real good in the sense of still being able to hold up [to] what I say my belief is, which is regardless of any opinions or statistics, as long as you got talent and you believe, you can go in the studio and always make a jam. For that to happen is just reassuringI look at the blessing of it too. So Im just real happy about the situation.
DX: You got this latest hit without the assistance of Kanye West, and I noticed there arent any Ye-crafted tracks on F5, so are you ever gonna recreate that Slow Jamz, Overnight Celebrity magic with Yeezy again?
Twista: A lot of that is gon come outwith me getting back in the studio with Kanye. But, my producer [The Legendary] Traxter is pretty good friends with No I.D. [click to read] too, so I got a couple of bangers thats not on this album, that Im working on for up and coming projects with tracks produced by Traxter and No I.D. together.
DX: Oh, wordfor like, future solo projects?
Twista: YeahIm already started on the next project. I got two or three beats in the can already from No I.D. and Traxter [that they] produced together. Then I got another hot producer from Chicago by the name of J.P., who does a lot of production for The Cool Kids. Im gonna dabble in a few musical experimental things next album. Ima still keep it Twista, but Im definitely gonna give em a few of those other sounds like what you saying. Like the Slow Jamz vibe, I feel like that is what it is as far as that particular song, but as far as that 70s Soul sound I definitely wanna go back into that. So when I see Kanye thats what Im attacking him on like, Man, give me that Soul shit.
DX: And speaking of, didnt Ye do a [new] joint for you [like that], I Can Make You Say [click to listen http://www.hiphopdx.com/index/audio/id.7744/title.twista-i-can-make-you-say-unreleased]?
Twista: Nah, that joint was accidentally interpreted to be produced by Kanye I guess because of how the sample was goingA young up and coming producer [Doc Savage] produced that trackI knew Prince didnt clear samples anyway. So when I did that track that was strictly for the love of the track. I just wanted to get on it, cause I always wanted to rap to a Prince sampleBut I did get a song from [Kanye West] called Alright for the album.
DX: I just read on Fake Shore that thats gonna be on the iTunes bonus version of the album?
Twista: Yep. I couldnt get a lot of stuff done with that track fast enough, cause you know Ye be moving everywhere, so it was like crazy trying to hurry up and get it done. Once I saw that it wouldnt make the original [physical CD] version of the album, just came up with a few ideas [and decided] to make it a bonus cutIts definitely Hip Hop, but then Kanye gave the track to No I.D. to rearrange the drums, and when No I.D. rearranged the drums he gave it like a House type of feel, a Chicago House music type of feel. And I fell in love with the track more.
DX: It looks like you scrapped a bunch of joints from F5 that were on the original tracklisting the Trigga Gots No Heart remake No Love with Spice 1 and The Game [click to listen]but I gotta ask, whyd you cut the Problems track with Tech N9ne [click to listen]?
Twista: The sample from the track, I couldnt get the sample cleared fast enough for the album. So I had to [cut it]But, I can still throw it out there. Thats the cool part about when you have to cut songs [now]. Back in the day it was like, Man, the world might not hear that song. But today you got the whole mixtape thing, and the Internet, so I usually am not that disappointed when a song has to be cut because I throw it out there anyway.
DX: You and Tech, yall really didnt go in rapid-fire for the track, like yall didnt race each other. Was that the plan?
Twista: It was just a style of track that I was just throwing around to a few people to see who could get on it, and Tech [click to read] was like, Man, Ill kill it. And I let him get on it because I thought it would be dope for people to hear me and Tech do something that wasnt actually on that [speed] level. But, the Midwest Choppers [for Techs Sickology 101] [click to read] cut, I didnt get to make it in time, but I actually laid a verse to thatSo that cut we did go nuts on, tearing into some ass on that cut
DX: Well the thing that kills me though is you were supposed to be on Welcome To The Midwest from Techs Everready album [too], right?
Twista: I dont know about that oneIm not sure. Me and Tech be fuckin up sometimes.
Twista: But thats my boy. We definitely gon get [it] in. But I fucked up a couple of times, man. So I apologize to Tech and his people, cause he definitely one of my artists that I listen to and am a fan of.
DX: When I spoke to Krayzie Bone back in March [click to read] he said he planned to have a couple of collaborations between himself, Tech and Twista on his Coming From The Midwest compilation. So can you confirm if the three lightning-tongued legends of the Midwest will be bangin out some joints together for that?
Twista: Anything that them guys ever ask me to do, Im gonna do it. So if you hear it from they mouth, its official. I dont care what it is. Even if they tell you something that I dont even know about yet its gon be official, cause we got a sense of a unified movement with our style of music and how we do things. And we all from the Midwest, and I want us to be able to rep the Midwest to the fullest in the same way that the south and the west coast and everybody else [reps their region]. So, we got a renewed sense of how Hip Hop is to be represented from the Midwest.
DX: When are we gonna finally get a whole album from yall as a trio?
Twista: Really, its something I could really start getting into now. I got a couple of projects under GMG that Im trying to knock out [first]. We got a Do Or Die [click to read] project that me and Traxter are about to go in together and put that project out. And then Im definitely gon try to get in with Krayzie Bone, cause its been overdue, and we already made plans and announced it to the people. So, I definitely wanna get it in.
DX: You think its just gonna be you and Krayzie, or maybe you, Krayzie and Tech?
Twista: Oh nah, Im trying to do the Bone [Thugs-N-Harmony] [click to read] album. The project Im talking about doing is Ima be an honorary member of Bone and we just gon do a Bone album. Its just Twista is gonna be a part of the group.
DX: Wow, thats crazyAnother collaborator Twista fans have long-demanded you work with again is Legendary Traxter. He did like the most fiya tracks on F5, so what took yall so long to squash that beef and get back to making that good music?
Twista: Uh what - youth, pride, egos. [Laughs] But the real dope part about me and Trax, and I really noticed it when we had a meeting with Do Or Die, is we clicked [back] up he deejays a lot of my shows now - and we pushed a lot of stuff aside. And I really got a sense of how hard the vibe is between us when we sat down with Do Or Die. Cause we had totally forgot that we had such a beast. So when Do Or Die was sitting there looking at us have these conversations they were like, Damn! Look at Twista and Trax just sittin here together like homies having this meeting with us. When you got the right spirits, the right minds, I feel like you can accomplish anything. And Im a person thats drawn towards a certain type of spirit. And even though me and him always had that type of beef or drama like that, I always knew that he was a good person, and vice versa. So, once we cliqued [back] up, the Shaq and Kobe [was] on. We fin to kill em.
DX: Well I dont wanna rehash too much of the past, [but] there was an interview that Trax gave with Defsounds from early 2008 [where] he was quoted as saying about Adrenaline Rush 2007, Lets keep it real it sucked Do you respect his opinion? Do you agree? Or you think he was just mad at that point?
Twista: Yeah, he was just mad. He was just hatin at that point. [Laughs] The cool part about it though man, we sit up and crack jokes all the time [now]. I sit up and tell him in a second, Nigga, I wasted six figures fuckin with you, fuckin with these lawyers. So we can actually joke about it. The one up I got on him slightly is when we have conversations and we joke with each other, he was a little more verbal about things than I ever was. So every now and then Ill pull up an old song or an old statement and well crack up and make jokes about it. So thats how tight we became now. Its on whole nother level now.
DX: Thats good to hearAlright I wanna get back to the new album. Content-wise F5 is pretty much covering the same ground as your last album, and pretty much what you always spit about: money (Billionaire with Busta Rhymes, Walking On Ice with Gucci Mane and OJ Da Juiceman), broads (Wetter, Jump Off, Gotta Get Me One with Static Major) and gangsta shit (Talk To Me, American Gangsta." But I gotta ask man, all the D-Boy talk like on Hustla, isnt that gettin a little past its prime for somebody who hasnt had to live in that life for a long, long time?
Twista: UmWhen I do songs like thatLike, okay Ill give you a great example, we can take it all the way back to one of the original gangstas, Scarface [click to read], and he would tell you a lot of times that when he do songs sometimes he may speak from a perspective of hisself, but a lot of times hes speaking from a perspective of a person from the hood that he can relate to. So, a lot of times when I do those type of songs I would expect and hope people would know that I havent had to be in the streets like that in a long time. But at the same time, if I dont do what they love me for, and the things that I did to get in the game you know, the original Twista shit, the street shit if I stop doing it to the fullest, then they not gon feel that [direction]. So I feel like by me coming from that element, and thats what I started rappin about, I feel like I got that right to continue to rap about it, even though Im [getting] success off of it. And then just on a whole nother level, I still be in the hood, man. I still got people in the hood that get down. So I still live around that life. Im not chillin [somewhere] in a decent place all the time. I spend most of my time with my peoples in the hood. Thats why like I said Im speaking [that song] from a perspective [of] a hustla, so they gon feel it. Cause they gon trip that, Damn, Twist be out here. He know the real numbers. He know the real breakdown. He know what shit goin for. He know about these bogus middlemen puttin tax on shit. They gon trip that I even know all of that stuff - that Im still out here. So, thats my way of letting the hustlas know. That was my cut for the hustlas. The guys that get down, thats something for them to ride to while they doin they thang.
DX: Just wanted to ask, since youre rappin with Auto-Tune on Billionaire, what you think about Jay-Z puttin the nail in the coffin of that? Do you think youll ever use Auto-Tune again for a track?
Twista: I like using it. Really, I like the shit! [Laughs] But look, I love the Jay [Death of Auto-Tune] [click to listen] song tooI respect the Jay song for what it is, and he definitely put a mark to itBut, I still feel thats a sound like a new sound that artists use in music today that to me really complements the era that we in as far as how far we came with technologyEverybody on some space shit now. The Auto-Tune to me that represents that ol space vibe or that futuristic vibeSo I kinda like it. Now as far as what he saying about it, is likeman, Ima just tell you the truth, Im one of them cold niggas. He aint talkin about me, so I can do as much Auto-Tune as I wanna do. Ill kill these niggas.
DX: And since I mentioned Jay, I just wanted to ask you about that Jackin Swagga From Us joint you did with Jim Jones last fallI was just wondering if you heard back if Jay felt a way about you kind of aligning with the guy who dont like Jay too much [Laughs]?
Twista: Aww to be honest, man, I wasnt thinking about that stuff. And I know Jay know I aint that type of dude. He knows my personality, so he know if he hear me on a song its just out of mutual respect as an artist for Jim Jones [click to read]. So I didnt really dwell on any beef or nothing like that. I just liked the beat, and he asked me to get on it, and I knew I could kill it so I got on it.
DX: Real quick, this is on a different topicI wanna ask you about MC Breed. Im from the Midwest and can remember being a kid and watching yall basically create the lane for this region back in 91. And so I was just wondering why yall never connected while he was living?
Twista: We had talked about connecting a lot. Like, throughout our careers we would see each other a lot and talk about connecting. But, I don't know, I just thinklike for me, I was just coming up in the game [when he broke through nationally]. And [so] when I first saw Breed it was like, Damn! It was like one of my first shows [after] I had got signed to Loud Records, so I was just honored to see him. And as we got along further into the game, we just talked a few times about actually doing songs. But when we actually were about to get down, like exchanging numbers and texting each other back and forth for awhile, then that was around the time he passed.
DX: And my final question is one Ive been waiting to ask you ever since Whip Game Proper dropped two years ago. What the hell are vocalistic cataclysms? [Laughs] That sounds like some shit Keith Murray would spit [Laughs].
Twista: Thats uhthings that happen terrible from vocals. [Laughs] You know what a cataclysmic event is, so this one is just a vocalistic version of a cataclysm. [Laughs] Im one of them rappers that be real scared to say some shit that dont mean nothing, so I make sure that it got a nice meaning to it.