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Twista: Second Chances

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With the curiosity surrounding Pinky-Gate, Twista has penetrated Hip-Hop’s interest and is whetting its appetite with the Traxter-produced, “Wetter.” Category F5, a verbal tempest will be fully unleashed this July. Twista is learning to harmonize the tasks of being the CEO of his imprint, Get Money Gang Ent., along with being its flagship artist. “It’s hard. I love doing it and I knew what was to expect out of it. There’s so much to do and so much competition out here…you really have to go hard and be organized and professional,” admits the undaunted lyricist.

Twista openly voices his goals saying “longevity is a thing that I want to obtain. When people ask me what’s the legacy I want to leave, that’s the one word that I would use, longevity. I look at my career, I dropped an album in ’90 or ’91, and I’m still right here with a jam.” Dedicating almost twenty years to his craft, Twista is constantly striving to improve his sound. He isn’t adverse to implementing new, respected styles that keeps his sound fresh.

Category F5 is the album and Second Chances is the mixtape that will continue to deliver the raw to the masses. In an unbridled interview with AllHipHop.com, Twista exposes everything from his ability to massacre anyone on the mic, to which artist he’d like to work with in the future.

AllHipHop.com: “Wetter” is another Twista hit. How long did it take you to complete the track from its conception to having the master on wax?

Twista: We decided that we would go back and use a lot the original sounds that we used in Adrenaline Rush to create new beats—new ideas and everything. Off of the conversation, he [Traxter] had already had a track put together, with the whole vibe going… Instead of me just banging it out in the studio, I did one of my traditional things I do, which is go back to the hotel room, [and] throughout the day I started to write the track. [I] came back the next day. That’s what I did I just took it with me. I vibed on the song real good and wrote the whole song then came back the next day and laid it. Even then, we still didn’t look at it like a big jam…We knew it was a song with that original sound, but we didn’t know that we didn’t had one like we had, until it started doing what it was doing…

AllHipHop.com: When is Category F5 being released?

Twista: On July 14th. Category F5 is a dope definition that I picked up from the encyclopedia. That’s the reason why I titled the album Category F5. The F Scale [Fujita Scale] is a scale that’s used to describe different levels of tornadoes or twisters. The range goes up to category F6, which is unconceivable. Category F5 actually has a description, it describes cars being thrown through the air as missles, at 100 MPH; it describes bark being ripped from trees; it describes houses being ripped from foundations. It’s like a real fierce, dope description of how things get tore up. At the ends it says it like an incredible phenomenon…

AllHipHop.com: Do you feel capable of ripping up the industry?

Twista: Not ripping up the industry, just killing them on the album, killing them with these lyrics and these songs like how I be doing. [I’m] able to come with hits, jams, stuff for the streets—and doing what Twista do. If you would consider that ripping up the industry then that’s what it is. I’m not really with continuing the trend of rating myself with numbers and first weeks and stuff like everybody else does; I survive no matter what my first week is. I’m still here eating off rap. I don’t be focusing on that. I focus on it on the business end; but, on the artistic end I don’t focus on it.

AllHipHop.com: Adrenaline Rush 2 didn’t meet the commercial success of some of your previous albums. Was that one of the reasons you left Atlantic Records?

Twista: I would say the industry started to take a slight change… It was hitting everybody on different levels. [The] record labels [had to think] how can we make money if people can get this music other ways, digitally and other ways now? They had to transform from just regular record labels into these multimedia companies to be able to do what they do and make money. I didn’t fit in the scheme of a new artist. A 360 deal really didn’t fit an artist who already had a fanbase or whose been grinding and has released records. A artist like me or Fat Joe, or somebody like that, it would be more easier for us to make money and to benefit [with] us doing our thing on the independent level.

With me it was a business move more so than a personal move. It wasn’t me thinking my record didn’t blow up. I knew part of the reason my record didn’t blow up was due to financial decisions that had to be made by the company. As long as we were all on good terms, and they felt that as long as I gave them what they needed, then they could let me go. I went that route. I already went the negative route and lost three or four years out of my career before. I didn’t want to take that route…

AllHipHop.com: Are you the premiere lyricist from the Chi?

Twista: I used to be, but at a certain point I started hearing these little n****s and I realized, okay—the real snappy punchlines and coming with it like the young ones like it. I feel like I might have lost a step on that level. But as far as what I’ve learned through experience, and how to put a song together, and how to work in the studio and have a good ear; I think I’m better on that level.

Lyrically and being able to put together patterns and styles, I’ve got you to death. I definitely can make a song with a ill pattern or crazy style to it. But, as far as them punchlines, and how these shorties bring it; they got me feeling like they go harsh. It’s hard for me to say that just know that my man Skooda Chose is in here. Some of the lyrics that I’ve heard from him [have me thinking] I could do that s*** when I was young. But, I can’t do it no more, not like that.

AllHipHop.com: [laughs] Is there a difference between being an MC and being an entertainer?

Twista: Definitely. I would say [pauses] Rakim or Kool G Rap would be my description of an MC. Slick Rick or Doug E. Fresh or some type of flair personality would be more of an entertainer; when you got both of them it’s the best. But, it’s definitely a difference. Some people who entertain might not have great lyrics, they just might have the look and the swagger, [and with an] MC they don’t really have that flair or that desire to be out there. When you get them in the booth or in a battle or on the street they can kill somebody [lyrically].

Twista-”Birthday”

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AllHipHop.com: Overall, within Hip-Hop, has your public and has your peers recognized your contribution to the game?

Twista: To a certain extent. It’s unfortunate to say that sometimes when you’re not around, or when something bad happens, that’s when everybody looks up. They don’t recognize you for the good. Right now I would consider myself as an underrated MC. You know, you got some MC’s that get all the accolades and all the props. When it comes to the one’s who consider themselves a judges of, or one of the people who describes who is Hip-Hop or what really counts, I feel like those people who make those assumptions don’t really recognize me the way they should.

But when I walk down the street every person that I see that recognizes Twista, I feel like they will recognize it, I’m happy with that. They’ll see my face and start thinking, ‘Damn, man, you did this and you did this, man. You really pioneered that style.’ They recognize that when they see me. With every fan I walk up to it’s love. But all of the writers and some of the people, who are so called the-sources-to-see of what Hip-Hop is or what real rap is, I feel [that] they don’t.

AllHipHop.com: If you didn’t get paid for doing Hip-Hop would you still do it?

Twista: [pauses] If I didn’t get paid? Yeah, that’s the reason why I still do it because I love it. That’s the beautiful part about it. I love going in the studio and making songs. I love going on stage and performing for the people. All of the positives about being a rapper; I love it. The thing I love the most is making songs in the studio. The act of making a song, writing lyrics, coming with a style, that’s the thing that turns me on the most. So, hell yeah!

AllHipHop.com: On June 27th Rock The Bells will be in Chicago, will fans be in for a surprise performance; will you be a hometown addition?

Twista: If it happens to where I can come out for a surprise performance it’s definitely going to happen. But, just to let you know how much I am a fan of Hip-Hop, me and Trax and Toxic, my guys that produce, we already plotting about how we’re going to post up backstage.

AllHipHop.com: [laughs]

Twista: To me, this is the honest to God’s truth, this the first time where, being Twista on some clout s*** really matter to me. I’m like I’m Twista. So, I’m going to take my ass up in there under the Twista act and be like, okay, woo woo woo, and post up. But, really, inside I’m going to be like the biggest Rap fan ever; and be real happy to meet all them.

AllHipHop.com: If the situation presented itself who would you invite on your All-Star tour?

Twista: I love the Drake music right now. So, I would invite Drake on my tour so I could stand on the side of the stage and listen to his show. Maybe Andre 3000—I would even invite Cee-Lo. I would want to invite Cee-Lo under the Gnarles Barkley act. The tour wouldn’t match up good but that’s what I would be on.

AllHipHop.com: In the spirit of competition, which three MCs would you like to battle?

Twista: To be honest, I’m so past the battle days, I would be more willing to do a song with them. But just for the fun of the battle, you want to see Twista and Tech N9ne rapping fast against each other, you want to see just all of the fast rappers, really. So, I would say me against, Busta, Tech N9ne, and Ludacris, and have it on the fast lyrical tip.

Just so you know, them all my homies, I don’t want to battle none of them n***** because, whoah. [laughs]

AllHipHop.com: [laughs] Let me find out Twista’s scared.

Twista: Ah, nah it’s never that, now you trying to kick of that other—

AllHipHop.com: Let’s keep it nice; we’re not trying to start any mess. [laughs] For nearly two decades you’ve been connected to the mic. Are there any artists that you haven’t worked with that you’d like to get on a track? I think a Twista / Big Daddy Kane track would be crazy!

Twista: You snapped with Big Daddy Kane; he’s one of my top five MCs. That’s a good one. Somebody that I would just like to work with is Eminem I would definitely love to do a track with Eminem.

AllHipHop.com: To your audience, you have the last word, what would you like to say?

Twista: I would like to say, to my audience, thanks for helping me to continue my journey of longevity. [We’re] showing them how you can be a James Brown in this game, and break the whole mold of people thinking that an R&B artist or another category of artist can outlast a Hip-Hop artist. I’m trying to break that whole vibe. I feel like as long as you [are] a generally good man and a good person, if you continue to make good music, then you can do that.

I gotta say thanks to the fans for helping me to continue that journey. I gotta tell them Category F5 is the s***. I got new things on there with people like Akon and Static Major. I got classic things on there from Do Or Die and Buk from Psychodrama. I got something on there for the ladies [and] I got thug stuff for the fellas. It’s dropping July 14th, live with it. I got a couple of mixtapes coming that probably go harder than the album.

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