Twista: Coat Of Arms

Twista’s dreams of hip-hop superstardom have been deferred more times than a little bit. Twista is widely accepted as one of the rap word’s most talented wordsmiths. His rhythmic, staccato delivery has endeared him to legions of fans while mainstream notoriety, of the MTV and endorsement deal variety, has continually eluded his grasp. Lacking any […]

Twista’s dreams of hip-hop superstardom have

been deferred more times than a little bit. Twista is widely accepted as one

of the rap word’s most talented wordsmiths. His rhythmic, staccato delivery

has endeared him to legions of fans while mainstream notoriety, of the MTV and

endorsement deal variety, has continually eluded his grasp.

Lacking any ego, almost to a fault, he speaks

frankly about suspect career choices, a rarity among the tendency of most emcee’s

to think they know it all. Though has he has remained on the radar with notable

guest verses (check Lil Kim’s "Thug Love") and independent projects,

it’s been six long years since his platinum major label debut Adrenaline



He’s back in grind mode readying his latest album,

Kamikaze, which is loaded with appearances by Ludacris, 8 Ball, Too Short,

Freeway and Cee Lo along with production from Toxic, Kanye West and Timbaland.

Twista’s long awaited album is slated for a firm July 29th release date. Why did you name you new album Kamikaze?

Twista: I wanted to pick a title that I felt

was a good follow up to Adrenaline Rush. I was like "what’s the

ultimate adrenaline rush?" And it’s going in kamikaze in any situation.

It ain’t necessarily like a war situation or nothing. But it can be like the

game of life or in this industry or whatever. Going in, taking care of your

business, getting what you trying to do accomplished, even though you know you

gonna get scuffed up in the process.

AllHipHop: Kamikazes were the Japanese suicide

pilots in World War 2, how do you feel about the current state of affairs in


Twista: Man, I feel like there’s two sides to

the whole thing and you gotta respect both sides. On one hand I feel like even

though the ones that want peace want peace, it doesn’t mean that they necessarily…some

of them are totally against George Bush or whatever, but it doesn’t necessarily

mean that all of them against, it’s just that they want peace. They don’t feel

people should kill people and some people feel like that’s so wrong that whoever’s

doing it, they just against it. They protest. Then you got other ones on the

other side or people that’s for what George Bush is doing and you got people

that got families and fathers and uncles and cousins over there that’s fighting.

And when these people out there you supporting what’s going on because you want

your people to come home. So you’re hoping for the mission to be successful.

You love your momma, you love your daddy, you want them to come home. Me I respect

both side of what’s going on.

AllHipHop: Your album was originally supposed

to come out early this year, what’s been the hold up?

Twista: Yeah, it kept getting pushed back. I

guess Atlantic (Records) wanted me to come back with more heat or whatever,

I don’t know what was going on. But we was really pushing it back so we could

have the right right set up before we just put it out there. I respected

them for pushing it back. Now we at the point where this the last day, it can’t

get pushed back no more. We’re just going to put it out there.

AllHipHop: How do you feel this new album compares

to your past work?

Twista: I feel like it’s just as good if not

better. I got stuff on there that I slowed down a little bit. Not just to do

it but just to show you, "n*gga I got the slow flow too." Just giving

them extra styles and stuff like that. That’s all I really be on man, styles

and metaphors and lyrics. Show that I can do my thing in the game. I felt I’ve

put it in a way where people can accept it better.

AllHipHop: How have you grown specifically as

an artist?

Twista: (I’m) More experienced in the game, especially

(because of) traveling. When you do tours and stuff like that you see heads

bounce a different way. You might be in New York and everybody rocking one way

or doing the Harlem Shake, you may go down South and they’re Bankhead Bouncing

and they got the double time beat. You just learn a lot about what different

people like as far as when you’re on the road and just seeing different cults

and what different places rock to different stuff. When you sit back down you

got more things added in your arsenal when at first you wasn’t thinking about

that when you was writing. You was regional with your thing. Everybody who liked

it, liked it because they like that vibe, but then you get a chance to make

some music that they might like and it can widen your whole thing.

AllHipHop: In all your travels what’s been your

favorite city?

Twista: Really Chicago because I can get crunk

in Chicago. St. Louis, Mississippi and Memphis…I like Atlanta a lot. Small

spots too. It might be something like Iowa or Kentucky where we might go to

do shows. Cincinnati, Ohio; places you would never expect but you go there and

they be vibing.

AllHipHop: You come off as a real humble person.

What has been one of your greatest faults as far as your career?

Twista: My communication skills. Communication

and solving and doing away with problems that’s stretched out where if I would

have stepped up and put a fist into it on the communication level it would have

never stretched as long as it stretched. I say that with my label situation

and stuff like that where as like I went against the independent [Creator’s

Way] and we was fighting. And I do feel like they were stubborn to the point

where we was never reaching a conclusion. "It’s me, It’s T," we all

love each other. We could have got it resolved and got through a lot of stuff

man. I’d probably be on my fourth album by now. I block people out and that’s

like a personal thing. I’ll tell you straight up on some real man sh*t, it’s

a communication thing. When I get into it, or start to get angry with something

I block people out and push them aside instead of talking. Next thing you know

I’m thinking about you but I ain’t hollered at you in a week in a half

or a month or two months.

AllHipHop: That must have stalled you career?

Twista: Sheeit! It stalled me about three years

man. I’d say a good two and a half, three years. Cause I got led into a situation…and

recently my old manager said some things about me in an article that I really

didn’t appreciate, I could sh*t on her but I ain’t even gonna do that. That’s

my girl…

AllHipHop: Are you talking about Wendy Day in

the story about you in XXL Magazine.?

Twista: Yeah, yeah. I feel like she taught me

a whole lot in the game. So I’ll take the good and I’ll just do away wit’ the

bad, and I’m a take the good and she say she taught me a lot in the game. But

if could have done that situation over I would’ve don’t it different, I’ll just

say that.

AllHipHop: Have y’all at least spoken on it?

Twista: Nah, I ain’t talk to her in a minute.

If I had a number on her I’d probably just hit her up and be like "What’s

up?". I just ain’t talked to her in a minute. I just moved on and tried

to block that out for a minute until I get back on my feet.

AllHipHop: Two joints stand out as far as taking

you from being an underground artist to potentially having great commercial

appeal. "Is This The End" on Puff Daddy’s No Way Out album

and "Is That Your b*tch" off of Jay Z’s original Vol 3. Life and

Times of S. Carter album, before the bootleggers got to it [it reappeared

on Memphis Bleek’s "Is That Your Chick (The Lost Verses)"]. How did

those songs manifest?

Twista: It was Puff. He approached me early while

I was recording the Adrenaline Rush album. He always liked me as an artist.

Really I feel like he was one of the blessings of my career. I could never really

thank him more for having love for a brother like, "Man, I like this n*gga

like that." I know I’m nice but at the same time there’s a lot of n*ggas

that’s nice. He ain’t have to holla at me like that. That song…and Jay

Z, I feel the same way…

AllHipHop: Jay approached you too?

Twista: Yeah. Both of those songs, I needed those

two songs. I felt like those were two crucial points in my career.

AllHipHop: Both songs led to bidding wars with

Bad Boy and and Roc-a-Fella on separate occasions trying to contract your services

from Atlantic, how do you keep a level head?

Twista: It ain’t even nothing I try to do. I

can’t get in star mode. I know how to get on stage, entertain my fans and do

my thing but I just can’t get on star mode. If I can’t do it just being me,

then I can’t do it. It ain’t in me like that. It ain’t nothing that I gotta

try to do when it coming to keeping a level head. If anything I gotta try to

get it crunk sometimes.

AllHipHop: How much of that money from your deal

in ’97 did you actually see?

Twista: Not a lot. I ain’t never really see too

much off the old deal. I’m a go nuts one day after it’s all over. I never seen

much off of the cheese like that. But it’s a lot I learned about the game. I’ve

found a pattern…or a recipe that works for me. I’m a run with it and it

makes me happy and it makes the label happy and I’m a just do that.

AllHipHop: How is this new deal different from

the previous one in?

Twista: Me being a different person and me having

more control because the middle label is not involved. Well, I wouldn’t even

say more control cause in some ways it’s less control. But just a better relationship.

And then me growing. Going through all that label sh*t, I don’t want to go through

all of that stuff no more. I found a recipe that works for me, I can get mine,

they can get theirs and we all cool.

AllHipHop: A lot of rappers styles and flows,

whether inadvertently or not, come directly from you. Anyone you want to name?

Twista: Man, there’s a lot of them but I’d kick

some drama off if I name that list right there! Whew! It’s a nice amount of

them but what I’ll say is I respect them because I see how it started, I see

how the style helped so many rap artists careers get started. Some of them picked

up a lot of stuff they heard from somebody else. To the ones that done it I

respect them because it eventually developed into their own thing. But it’s

a couple of them that just be super bold with it and will just take my lines

and byte pattern after pattern! I’m sittin’ here listening like, "All he

did was change the words!!!" It be tripping me out but ain’t nothing you

can do about it. All you can do is just up your game. I just look at it as competition

to a certain level. Having to up your game and be colder.

AllHipHop: Are you still based out of Chicago?

Twista: Yeah but I’m about to get a crib out

here too. I got to because I can’t be cramming all my days. Coming up here and

having 50,000 things to do in three or four days, I can’t do it. (Laughing)

AllHipHop: How come you’ve never done a song

with Common?

Twista: You know what, I always wanted to do

a song with Common but I honestly feel like his vibe is just so different from

mine. He is way over here doing something with a whole different crowd and I’m

way over here doing something with my whole different crowd. But we both respect

each other, I think to a certain level. He’ll laugh at this probably, but I

think I had to earn his respect harder than he had to earn mine. And it’s cool.

AllHipHop: What is the deal with your relationship

with Roc-a-Fella?

Twista: Right now, we just cool people. They

[Atlantic & Roc-a-Fella Records] talking though on the business side. But

I try not to pay attention. I’m trying to finish up an album. Have everything

laid out regardless. I’ll let them handle it.

AllHipHop: Are you trying to out do other artists

when you appear on their tracks?

Twista: With my verses, if you ain’t gonna attack

the track with a vicious pattern, then it’s just gonna be like mine. And you

might come with a lazy flow, you might bust a lazy Fabolous flow. He got cold

ass rhymes and he be rappin lazy as hell (laughing). You might come with that

type of thing and do your thing. But I’m going to attack the track with a vicious

flow. The average person, their attention is going to get caught by it. That’s

just my thing…I like that adrenaline rush.

AllHipHop: So that’s how you lay it down in the


Twista: Yeah, that’s why it’s hard for me to

make a single. I always wanna go crazy on a track. It’s hard for me to loosen

up a line or a bar when I know I could fill it up with sh*t and still spit it

and breath easy with it. It be hard for me to compromise and I’ll be like "Damn,

let me try to go on kick a little something so they can feel it a little bit."