Off the top of your head, how many rappers can you name who have consistently been getting radio spins for the last fifteen years? If you didn’t name Twista, you wouldn’t be alone. However, with storied hits such as “Celebrity Overnight,” “Let’s Go,” and a personal style mimicked into the ground, you also wouldn’t be giving credit to one of the genre’s most well-rounded artists, either. Rewrite your wrong and read as this Midwest archetype sits down with TSS Crew’s Beware to discuss career highlights, hiccups and the new fan-oriented album—The Perfect Storm that will hopefully solidify his spot amongst the game’s most reputable.
TSS: Typically, you start off your albums extra tough, so that’s how we’re going to start this interview. Recently on Twitter, you asked …”What are the ingredients to a classic album?” How do you personally answer the question?
Twista: The ingredients to a classic album for me are a perfect selection of the number of tracks. You don’t want to have too many or too little. You definitely want to have beats from classic producers, or producers that are considered the ones, you know? You definitely got to have lyricism to have a classic album – to me, but…it depends. There are different types of artists. I definitely say bangin’ beats, bass – you know it’s got to be mixed right and everything – and lyrics, substance, foundation. You’ve got to have all that to make a classic album.
TSS: Is The Perfect Storm a classic album?
Twista: Oh, true, indeed. True, indeed. It has the perfect number of songs. I started the album off hard. I got the perfect blend of songs for the people that want it in the bedroom and for the ladies. I got the cuts for the club and I’ve definitely got cuts for the people who love the Adrenaline Rush album. So, I think it’s the perfect blend.
TSS: You recently stated that The Perfect Storm is a record meant for the fans, giving them everything they’d always asked for in a Twista album. What specific elements did you pull out of your catalogue and try to recreate?
Twista: Well, I don’t always try to recreate, but I do always think back to Adrenaline Rush. When I make albums, the first thing that pops in my mind is Adrenaline Rush. Sometimes, Kamikaze, but mostly I try to feed off Adrenaline Rush.
TSS: I can see why you pick those two. Adrenaline Rush is the staple of your catalogue. I’ll go out on a limb and say your hardest CD. Kamikaze is your most commercial and most successful. Pulling them together makes sense to me.
Twista: Yes sir!
TSS: Which elements from your prior albums would you stay away from?
Twista: I liked everything. I liked The Day After a lot, but I think the Adrenaline Rush 2007 was a funny part in my life, right there. That album I like a lot, but I wish I could have some of the creative days back, so I could go a little harder.
TSS: What do you mean when you say “it was a funny time?”
Twista: Well, I just drive off of feeling and emotion when I do music, and I think I was just going through some hardships during my life when I was making that album and it was hindering my creativity a little bit. So, when I think back and go listen to that album, it’s a reminder of some of the things I was going through, as far as like…there was differences with friends and things the business was doing to me. The business was making me lose friendships. I was trying to block things out. You know, that trauma you go through when you involved in the music industry. That album is a reminder of some of the things I went through and when I listen to it, I think, “Man, I wish I could’ve done that song better, or worked with this producer at the time. Or, I wish hadn’t been feeling this way when I worked on that song.” Things like that.
TSS: Well, from what you’re telling me, it sounds like you’ve managed to work things out and are preparing to put out one of the better albums of your career. As fans, that’s something we can all appreciate.
Now, speaking of things to stay away from, FakeShore Drive’s Twitter status suggested that you might be looking to sign Kat Stacks to your Get Money Gang imprint. Can you address that?
Twista: Naw. Naw. Naw. I ain’t really on that. I ain’t really on that. [Laughs] I don’t know about that one right there.
TSS: So, leaving that one null, huh?
Twista: Yeah. I got my hands full with the Get Money Gang roster right now. I’m looking to get that whole thing poppin’ off.
TSS: Hey, sounds like a good move to me. Growing up in the Midwest, if you listened to Twista, you listened to Do or Die, without question. What’s your current relationship with the group and how do you feel about Belo currently being locked on murder charges?
Twista: Actually, Belo is my man. That’s the one I relate to the most, the one that’s locked up. So, you know I got to show love to him. Shout out to my guy Brandon in Minnesota, who helps look out for him a lot and hold him down. And, you know, AK and N.A.R.D. are always working on a project. And, I think [Belo's] still got something going with Rap-A-Lot right now, with a single that he had recently put out in Chicago that was bubblin’ up.
So, man, I’m just waiting for when that time calls for us to get back together and get into the studio and make the magic that we do. Those guys right there are guys I’m going to be making music with for the rest of my life. I love what happens when we get together. So it’s on, fa’sho.
TSS: Fans have always talked about a joint album between you, Do Or Die and Johnny P. Would you ever consider that?
Twista: For sure. Those are my guys. Like I said, that’s who I relate to the most. Even though I go around and do music everywhere else, when I do work with those guys I feel at home. I feel the most comfortable and at home, because I’m always smiling at the magic, because it reminds me of a basketball team. You got the top point guard; the top center. When I hear all the pieces come together, I can hear the championship.
TSS: That’s exactly what I wanted to hear. You’ve always had a reputation as a go-to artist for guest features. From T.I. to David Banner, Busta Rhymes to Usher. Which appearance do you feel was your finest?
Twista: Ohhh…that’s a good one. I would probably say, “Is That Yo Bitch?” Well, I don’t know…Yeah, “Is That Yo Bitch?” because I was touring with Jay all over the country around that time.
TSS: So, the personal experiences accompanying that song might have put it over the top, huh?
Twista: Yeah, but then it’s even hard to say that one. Before that one, I would say….”Po Pimp” wasn’t my record. So, I would definitely say “Po Pimp.” Defintely, “Po Pimp.”
TSS: You know, I’m sure touring with Jay was special, but that Do Or Die song put you on game. That’ll always have a special place.
Twista: Of course. The record spawned “Is That Yo Bitch?” and the “Is This The End” joint, the “Smoke Out” joint, with Three Six Mafia. That song made a lot of artists want to work with me around that time. A lot of features actually spawned off that “Po Pimp” joint, so that’s my favorite feature.
TSS: If you could line up any artist in the world for a guest feature – and I’m talking about any artist, not just….Drake or Lil Wayne, because they’re hot – who would you chose and why?
Twista: That’s a good question, because my mind is open with so many people I’d reach out to out of the blue to put on a project. But, you know what, man? On a Midwest vibe, I got to admit it…Eminem is still one of those lyricists that give me the same feeling I got coming up listening to Rakim, or Nas. When I felt that true feeling of a lyricist, I still get that feeling when I listen to Eminem. So, that’s the one artist I would really like to collaborate with.