Delux Legends: Twista
by DeWarren Smith
The pool of living legends in Rap music maybe few but it is certainly deep. On August 12th, the rap veteran Twista will race onto the scene with his ninth album, The Dark Horse. I got a chance to talk with this legend in Rap – whose music I have been listening to since early in his career as I grew up in South Bend, IN which sits 90 miles outside of Chicago.
D: I know you have a major event coming up this weekend at the Sole Expo, so let’s start with that first. I know it’s the first year but a national event do you see yourself being involved with it every year or was it just something that you were interested in because of your on love for shoes?
Twista: I definitely want to be involved in it for a while, and I think of this as the beginning of something new. You’ve had expos before, but I don’t think anyone has done one of this caliber with so much going on and so many celebrities and entertainers being involved in it.
D: Will you bless the mic? Who else is confirmed to come out?
Twista: Man I may bless the mic 2,3, 4 times ain’t no telling! Where they are holding it – at the Lacuna Artist Lofts – is a dope place where all the artist hang out. They’re frequently dealing with fashion or business and things like that so just the area alone; I know it is going to be a cool area to vibe at, and at any chance we can hop on the stage and make something happen or hop on the scene and get the track going we definitely want to make it tight. Chance the Rapper is going to be there, Stunt Taylor, and a lot of the talented artists that you hear about in Chicago are going to be there. Everybody is talking about coming so I expect it to be big.
D: What was the motivation for the album being titled The Dark Horse?
Twista: I feel like I’m like the Dark Horse of the Industry cause there’s not a lot of rah rah when I do come out. Looking at my personality I just come up out the woodwork and deliver with it. I’m also a Sagittarius. Looking at it in reference to the Beatles, and certain groups, the Dark Horse of the group would be the one writing for the group that’s making everything pop and you might not even know it. I just liked the whole vibe of The Dark Horse.
D: In the documentary Mr. Immortality, it was mentioned that you do come out up from out of the blue but have always been a mainstay in the game. To what do you attribute your longevity?
Twista: For me, I think it’s actually being a true talented artist as well as just having a youthful spirit and always being involved or concerned with how the music is coming out of the youth. So when I listen to Hip Hop, I pay attention to it from different aspects, but one of the main ones is: I’m always looking at why you might be rocking to the new guy. Just naturally I hang around younger people, and they might be like, “Listen to this PeeWee Longway Mixtape… check out the Migos… listen to this Young Thug or Joey Badass…” So they keep me up on different artists. I’m naturally driven toward the youth sound of this Hip Hop and that’s one of the reasons I stay around.
D: You and Traxster have been connecting for a number of years. How did “It’s Yours” come about?
Twista: I had did like 2 or 3 singles in a row where they worked for me as long as I keep to that formula that fans are used too. As far as it being that particular song it was just sounding beautiful to me, the way Tia London was singing the hook I felt like It had this had that vibe to carry along the traditional sound of a Twista single.
D: Tia London’s vocal was like milk and you definitely delivered on it. On the album we have Wiz Khalifa and others, but what was it like working with Tech N9ne, who has also been a legend throughout his career?
Twista: Well with Tech it’s always exciting. When me and Tech see each other we get excited because we know we can take the lyrical thing into a frenzy that a lot of people can’t. When I work with him or just around him our vibe with music is intense or exciting we always know we going to turn up to the max to do something and that’s how the song on the album sounds like we both went crazy. Tech gives me a lot of energy. I like being around people like him when it comes to doing music.
D: I know you just wrapped the video for “6 Rings” so how did it go?
Twista: The video shoot for “6 Rings” went dope. It was actually a two day shoot. The first shoot was at a charity event, “Put Down the Guns” basketball game that we had at Marshall High School in Chicago. The next day we just turned up and did some select shots and made sure the video was dope.
D: Will the “6 Rings” video be dropping soon?
Twista: It will be finished very soon, but as far as the release, we have to time it out. If it were up to me, I’d be like, “Go, go, go!” But we just we have to take the opportune time to release it.
D: The Dark Horse album is being released under your own independent label GMG, right?
Twista: Yes, GMG/Captiol.
D: Explain the difference throughout your career. I know you were with Atlantic Records and now you have your own independent label. How has it felt making this project?
Twista: It’s cool. You still have a distributor like EMI. You might still have a distributor or parent company you work with. In some ways, it’s a lot of the same things, but you’re the boss you get to call certain shots. You gotta make sure you are making certain moves. Like I tell everybody: the price you pay going independent is that you have to expect a lot of things to happen on a smaller scale, but you have a lot of freedom to take it to whatever max level you want to take it to, so man it’s dope. It’s whatever works for you bro. Being independent for me to have that freedom has always been a cool thing.
D: What other surprises can we expect from The Dark Horse album?
Twista: Definitely the features. When you get a chance to hear like, me and Chief Keef on a song together; somebody so young and somebody that’s a vet like me on the same track doing our thing. And then you got somebody up and coming like Stunt Taylor on a track with us. A lot of people want to hear Twista and Wiz Khalifa or Twista and Tech N9ne and different things like that. Just seeing how Twista sound on different songs with different people as well as that vintage traditional vibe I think everybody is going to enjoy the album hard.
D: The whole Chi-Town scene is making its mark in music. I know that you wanted to be that person to help keep bringing Chicago out. How is the camaraderie between artists? How does it work?
Twista: Everybody is cool. Everybody is cliqued up. I think everybody is starting to get it. We have finally started to develop that vibe that I used to see when I first saw hip hop growing on the East Coast, then I saw the unification on the West, and then the South. We definitely get it and we have that bond with each other. I keep in contact with a lot of these guys, texting back in forth with Spenzo, me and Louie were talking about doing a mixtape a week or two ago, YP just dropped something, I get it in with The Boy Illinois; me, him, and Trae tha Truth got a song together, Katie Got Bandz is my home girl. So we all support each other. Hopefully we fully understand that power and unification of artist from the same coast so we can consistently make this Chicago thing big.
D: Brother thank you very much for your time. I’m sure the album is going to be dope, I love the single, and we are definitely going to pump it!
Twista: Thanks, De I appreciate it! I’ll be seeing you somewhere soon.
D: Right on, brutha. Peace!
SOLE EXPO LACUNA ARTIST LOFTS 2150 S. Canalport Ave. Chicago, IL. 60608
Check out the latest single Twista feat Tia London prod by Traxster Twista – It’s Yours feat Tia London