Twista: Never Tongue Tied
Now as 2007 marks a decade since his highly acclaimed Adrenaline Rush was pushed to Hip-Hop aficionados he is gearing up to take his creativity full circle with Adrenaline Rush 2007. Putting out a product that will heat up the Summer and reaffirm his position as Capo of the Midwest, Twista is ready for it all. He may have been off the Billboard chart for a couple of years but newspaper columns, soundtrack contributions and prepping for this album, have kept him in training for his 2007 comeback.
Talking exclusively to HipHopDX.com, Twista explained why he changed up his formula on the last project, he shares his opinion on the dreaded internet leak and he gives us his outlook on maintaining relativity.
HHDX: When you go back to when you put out the first Adrenaline Rush in 1997, how has Hip-Hop changed for you over those ten years?
Twista: Man... it has definitely got real prosperous and I was glad to see so many artists be able to make the money they are making and be able to take care of their families and things like that. It constantly changes but the one thing that I see that never changes is that it is a youth music and even though you have older people that like it too, the hottest stuff that is always going to be hot is the stuff that the new young innovative artists bring out.
HHDX: Does that bother you?
Twista: No. You just have to be able to re-create yourself all the time. You start getting too old and then stop being concerned with what are the hottest sneakers and what the hottest outfit is, then that is what makes you fall off a little. You have to keep your ear to the street and stay youthful about it. It is a competitive thing and you cant hate.
HHDX: So would you agree with Jay Z then that thirty something is the new twenty something?
Twista: I love that song and to me what makes a cool rapper is when you are able to take people into your world. You know that the twenties are the twenties, but for him to be able to flip that and talk about the black cards, he made it seem cool to be thirty. That song definitely helped me keep going forward and keep things moving.
HHDX: Because Hip-Hop is such an ageist genre of music, do you feel pressure every time you are coming out with a new project to approach things differently?
Twista: Not necessarily to approach things differently, but to satisfy them. Part of if you are leaving them satisfied or not is if your particular fan base wants you to come the same or if they want you to come different. Every artist is different; an Outkast fan may be used to them switching up so they may expect them to come with something different and if they were to come with something different, they may not feel them. Whereas say an Ice Cube or a Scarface, if they come too different, without that raw street element, then their fans might not be feeling them. It is a thin line with me as I am always trying to figure out what is the best niche for the next album and you are right, I do feel pressure but it is a good pressure. It is not a feared pressure or a bad one, it is a good one.
HHDX: Dont you find that it is easier to deal with pressure as you get older?
Twista: An OG artist deals with pressure better than a rookie and especially with me as I had success in my career late like that, it helped me out with a lot of business decisions and I feel like an elder in the rap game, so it is easy for me to make decisions.
HHDX: The Day After came out in 2005, although it went plainum, it seemed to bother a lot of critics and fans with the content. What are we to expect with this new album?
Twista: The content is like Adrenaline Rush, meaning that when I wrote The Day After it was all experiences, from the perspective of hey I am successful and what I see every day on the road. I was going out to different clubs and seeing different women and when you listened to that album you could say Twista is making this album while on the road, as I was writing about everything I was seeing. With Adrenaline Rush I wanted to bring them back just a little bit to that sound as some of the fans felt like I alienated them slightly with so many songs that I had on The Day After.
HHDX: So you recognized that some of your hardcore fans were a little perplexed with that album?
Twista: With me I was like I been hitting you over the head with nothing but street lyrics for ten years straight and then the day I make an album and try to do my little thing I am softening up, that was what made me come with Adrenaline Rush 2007, I wanted to aggressively express that Twista still do what he do and the best way to do that is to take something that you once did and re make it.
HHDX: Ok, so following on from that, as an artist that has been in the game for 10 plus years on a mainstream level do you find that fans and the general population with buying capabilities are harder to please nowadays?
Twista: Thats a hard question, that isnt a one sided answer; as sometimes they are and then sometimes I find it is real easy to go in and please my fans and I am like let me go in like the Twista that they love and then sometimes it is real difficult. I will try to give them something new and it is hard for them to accept it sometimes. When I came with Whip Gang Proper, the older Twista fans that know all of my music, they think I sound different to everything that they listen to and it is harder for them to accept the new sounds. There is always a thin line and that is why it is hard to give you a one sided answer to that question. Sometimes the fans are hard to please and then there are times when they just arent.
HHDX: When you first started the market was no where near as saturated as it is now, do you think that bears relevance to keeping fans in tune with what you are doing?
Twista: Definitely. When people look at Adrenaline Rush and The Day After, when people ask me what I think the differences are, and why that album didnt sell as much as this one, other people might go into an artistic interpretation, but not me. I look at what happened and that was the year where I was one of the first artists to take that big hit from how the internet is. If you noticed every artist that dropped after The Day After suffered a drop with their next releases. It was an industry thing, not just a Twista thing. So definitely with how many artists are coming out and with not only how you can get their music on a CD but as there are so many other ways, it manipulates the game just a little bit, trying to figure it out to whip it and still and still be a pretty good hustler in it.
HHDX: I mean we saw your label mate Lupe Fiascos album leaked multiple times on the internet; does that intimidate you in anyway? To some it can be perfect promotion to some it can totally kill their sales.
Twista: You know if it was your actually album, man that is another hard question [laughing]. And I am going to tell you why. Take Game and take Lupe Fiasco; we all know Games album got released on the internet as a promotional tool and it helped his album. Then it may have hurt Lupes album, and it hurt Lupe once his album came out. So it is hard but I listened to some of the snippets from Timbalands new album over the internet, and that gave me more of an incentive to buy his album than reading an interview or listening to him plug his album on the radio or anything, because you are looking at him playing music from his album in the studio and see him bobbing to it and you can feel it. So that gave me more of an incentive to buy his album, whereas another artist, you may expect a certain sound form them and then when you hear them on the internet, you realize oh this person isnt coming out with what I thought he was coming out with, ok I won't buy his album. I think if you make that regular good street music that everyone likes and you go hard and talk about the regular clichd stuff that everyone loves I think it can help you. But if you are trying to do something new and innovative and hope to win your fans over with some new sound, you have to be careful with the internet there. I think you should always be slick and put a phony album out there and swear up and down that it is you real album and then they realize that is not the whole real album and go out and buy the official one.
HHDX: Being that you have been signed to Atlantic, do you feel that they failed to utilize the Lupe leak to the benefit of both themselves and that of Lupe?
Twista: Yeah, definitely. But I have learned that what you can do in this business is down to what you can manipulate yourself. So as much as you want to blame, you are the one that has to pay your rent and unless you get a check for blaming somebody, then you have to fix the problem. You can sit there and say Atlantic could have done this, Atlantic could have done that, but they are selling your music and you know what you are speaking about and what you are rapping about, and how you are as an artist and sometimes just as a man or a woman or as a person you have to be able to step in and say something and have a hand infixing your situation. Not to say that it is Lupes fault that his situation turned out how it did, if it had been that he could have woke up one morning and thought of something real creative to do and put in the labels ear, then things might have worked out. I look at the label sometimes as just a machine and it can work out negative for you if you sit back and let the machine do things, but if you get up and realize that you have to keep the machine oiled and cleaned and know what to put into the machine then you are going to get something good out of it.
HHDX: Are we in for a platinum selling album with Adrenaline Rush 2007?
Twista: It is definitely hard. The difference between this album and the last album was that I was probably eight or nine songs in before I realized that I hadnt done a song for the ladies. But I definitely got some songs on there for the ladies.
HHDX: Styles P was the same with his last album, he made joints for the ladies too, and he, similar to yourself that has been labeled more of a street rapper. Do you think this is what street rappers have to do now, venture off and try and get that female spending power?
Twista: You just have to know how to do it. Certain artists for me should not bother going deep into that type of world. Stay the sort of artist you are and sell your music doing what you do best. But me, I just happen to be one of those types of artists that is talented in making songs for the ladies. So its cool. Me, if I can, always tries to do it, but it can also be a career ender if people look at you a certain way. I know Styles P can make a jam for the ladies, but do I necessarily want to hear a jam for the ladies from him? No, I dont give a fuck about a jam for the ladies from Styles P. I want to hear him spit some bars, talking about his guys and get high and D Block and those cold metaphors he and Jada be doing. Jada was able to do it though; I think he achieved it with "Knock Yourself Out". It is a very tricky thing to be able to do, but you will be the shit if you are able to just set aside your street records and then after your fifteenth street record, go in hard for the ladies. That makes you the shit as an artist as that means you will always stay on the radio, if nothing else happens for you, you will be on the radio.
HHDX: Is Kanye on this album?
Twista: Yeah he is on this album, but it was hard for us to clash heads at the same time as he was doing so much stuff and I was doing so much stuff. But I managed to get with him and there is a song on there called "Gangsters Hustle" that he produced.
HHDX: He didnt do any production on The Day After, do you think that because you and him seem to have that guaranteed hit formula down, his lack of presence may have hindered the album?
Twista: No, I dont think it hindered the album, but I missed the chemistry and I think the fans missed the chemistry with the songs that we did do on the album. But I think that album took more of an industry hit than an artistic hit. I feel that my album missed it and I was upset that the songs that I did have for the album didnt make it. The song "Impossible" from Mission Impossible III soundtrack, that was supposed to be on the album, but for some odd reason we had a couple of creative disagreements and I wasnt able to get it on my album. But fortunately Kanye pulled it back and found something to be able to put it on. So we were able to reintroduce that chemistry. I definitely feel like it hindered it slightly but at the same time too, I think me and Kanye, the stars kind of lined up when we did "Slow Jamz" and it was hard to expect to do another "Slow Jamz". But on this album we have to do another joint like that again.
HHDX: Do you find that people expect the same formula time and time again?
Twista: Yeah and then sometimes you as an artist or due to your business may not be able to give them the exact same formula and then you have to know your fans too. If you just more into yourself than what your fans like from you, you could make a big mistake, when you up out of the blue do something stupid. You have to respect what the fans want.