Twista: Slow Motion

Twista has a lot to say. That’s part of the reason why the Chicago rapper spits so fast; to make sure he gets the chance to speak his mind on whatever he can. But as the artist formerly known as Tung Twista has evolved from novelty act as “The World’s Fastest Rapper” to go-to guest collaborator to solo-star, he’s eased up on the speed in favor of a more deliberate and perhaps, meaningful flow, which still happens to be faster than your average.

Now, as Twista’s latest album, The Day After, hits shelves, the rapper finds himself in a precarious position. Although hardly an overnight celebrity himself, the Windy City vet has gained a new fan or two thanks in part to collabos with Kanye West and a brief affiliation with the R-O-C. So for Twista, it’s back to proving to folks that he can’t do it again—again. caught up with the Speed Knot Mobster to talk business, the “baby” Bulls, and the “Magic” Johnson blueprint. Turns out Twista doesn’t really rap that fast, y’all just listen slow. How you do follow up a breakthrough album, which earned you new fans, many of whom think this is you second album?

Twista: You know what? I was telling people with me it’s not a sophomore effort because I’ve been around so long. So for me, it’s like a cat that’s been around for a while and finally found a formula and got some success with a hit. I’m moreso happy I found a formula and happy I found some success, so it put me in a different mindset than a person who’s doing a sophomore album. I didn’t really have that problem, this is like one of the easiest records I’ve recorded right here. The album sounds really cohesive, more than any of your previous projects. Did your recording process change?

Twista: I did a lot of songs on this album, a few songs without writing lyrics down. Just straight off my new swagger, like, man, Twista [is] platinum now, I can do this. [Laughs] So it’s like a whole new feel to it, where at first I used to write down everything and go at it with a seriousness. Now, I don’t know, I feel like everyone can get with this. Like, it’s more natural. Do you feel as if it’s a lighter album?

Twista: Slightly, here and there. But I definitely give you that Twista vibe. With your last album and Kanye’s debut album, Chicago was really brought to the forefront as the next city. How does it feel for you to put out another album while the city is still burgeoning as far as talent?

Twista: I feel real good, man. I’ve been waiting for it to come to the Midwest for a long time. I’m just happy that I’m still around and still being a big part of if, instead of being in the background, or my time being passed and Chicago finally getting it. I’m happy now. I’m fitting to talk some s**t [Laughs] Get out here with this record, talk me a little s**t, and have some fun with it. Being in the Midwest, did you feel the impact of the Hurricane Katrina tragedy?

Twista: A little bit, but I’ve been traveling around so I haven’t’ been able to see if first hand. But from what I’ve been hearing, it’s been like that. I had the concert, the 19th of September for the victims. I had to get it cracking. Are there any interests outside of the music realm that you’ve been pursuing?

Twista:. I’m really trying got get cracking on real estate, barbershops, and small businesses. That’s what I’m really focusing on right now. A little mini “Magic” Johnson thing going on right now. A barbershop is good in that you as a Black man can employ other Black men in what’s really like an entrepreneurial breeding ground.

Twista: That’s what I would have been doing if I wasn’t rapping anyway. Really? Running a barbershop?

Twista: Yeah. Like my buddies that I would have ended up do it with, have barbershops and everything now. So that’s something that I’m still into when I’m talking to them. We were supposed to do it, but now I feel like I’m really ready. I have he proper paper to invest in a few things. That’s something that technology will never take over. Maybe one day! [Laughs] Maybe they might come up with a football helmet looking thing that you put on your head give you a nice little fade with a taper, you know what I’m saying? A laser liner. You might have to trademark that! On the new album, there’s no Kanye-produced tracks, did you not have a chance to record with him or are you moving forward?

Twista: Really, kind of both. We did get a chance to work together, it’s just the tracks weren’t better than the tracks that I originally had for the album. And I looked at it as I wasn’t on his album, so I was like, He’s moving forward, I’m moving forward on my thing. I want to try it on my own. It’s not no beef, it’s no drama, it’s like, let me do my thing. He’s doing his thing. Is there another crew album in the works with the Speed Knot Mobstaz?

Twista: Definitely. That’s what I’m really promoting. Even though I’m out here promoting the album, The Day After, I’m also promoting in the same sentence, Mobstability 2, top of ’06. That’s where my passion comes from. I’ve been doing the solo thing for a long time, so a lot of the times my passion turns up when I’m recording with my homies. Now, you’re a big sports fan, right?

Twista: More so football than anything. What’s up with the Chicago Bears?

Twista: It’s crazy, man. I’m hoping Kyle Orten will be straight. In the preseason he was cold. And we got that new running back, Cedric Benson, he did his thing in college so I’m hoping he comes to life here. We also have a few good receivers like Muhsin Muhammad. Let’s see if we can get the Orton to Muhammad thing going. Who knows? Lovie gonna have to start stopping his foot down harder or something. What about the Baby Bulls?

Twista:. I’m loving me some Ben Gordon right now. You see what happens, they start playing and it’s, ‘Aw, s**t, these little n***as starting to win some games.’ Then people realize towards the end of the season, they ain’t no punks. There ain’t no more washed up Bulls. We eliminated that [perception] last year. Have you ever considered working with a Rock band?

Twista: You know what? The craziest collaboration I’ve ever done has been with Sting. That was a crazy one. Not to long ago, right?

Twista: Yeah. Were you two actually in the studio together?

Twista: Yeah, we sitting there doing a video scene and I’m sitting there like, What has my life become? I’m a shorty watching this guy on TV. Its one thing to say, ‘Man, I’ll never get to do a song with Michael Jackson.’ And now you doing a song with Sting? What type of s**t it that? I’m from Chi Town. What’s happening, here? Do you listen to much Rock?

Twista: I listen to what catches my ear, but I don’t really know the name of the groups like that. The one group that I used to like ended up being some weird motherf**kers. The Creed guys. Then s**t, [the lead singer] fell off onto some crazy s**t. I’m like, Damn, just when I’m vibing with the group and buy the CD, then I hear some crazy s**t going on. I remember reading some biography with Eric Clapton in it, and I started bumping his s**t. I was amazed that this White guy played the Blues like that. What’s in store for you in 2006?

Twista: I’m really getting my mini “Magic” Johnson on. Ain’t no pretty story behind it, but you gonna look up three years from now and I’m gonna be like, I got such and such, a Starbucks, a movie theatre, that’s how I want to be talking to you three years from now. Rap is really like a poster. The Rap s**t is like your poster, the record company get all the money from the album, you get it from busting your ass. You get the sneaker deal and people will buy them ‘cause your face is famous. Your record is your poster. I’m into the stuff that the poster can get me because I’m famous, but I’m also into things that the money I can get from the posters can get me. The behind the scenes stuff.