He's the man Ludacris, P. Diddy, Timbaland and Three 6 Mafia call when they need someone to take their records over the top. He's the MC whose style has been imitated by scores of rappers. He's the underground legend ready to return to the game he helped revolutionize.
That's right, Twista is back, and after years of making hits for other artists, the Chicago pioneer is about to release his most important album - the highly anticipated "KAMIKAZE."
With 1997's "Adrenaline Rush," Twista showed how the rapid-fire flow was supposed to go. Now, with "KAMIKAZE," he shows what it is like when he elevates his own style.
"KAMIKAZE represents two things," Twista explains. "On a surface level, I was like, What could I come with after 'Adrenaline Rush'? What's the ultimate adrenaline rush? It's going kamikaze. On another level, I feel like I'm going into the game kamikaze. We know its f---ed up, but we've got to get a certain goal and we're trying to achieve it."
Long-time Twista fans, who have been following the motor-mouth MC since he was named the world's fastest rapper by the Guinness Book Of World Records more than a decade ago, will be thrilled that several "KAMIKAZE" cuts build directly off his classic material.
"Kill Us All," for example, is a sequel of sorts to the classic album's title track. "I was trying to do that like 'Adrenaline Rush,'" Twista says. "I know I'm going to do 'Overdose' part two and I'm going to pick that up right where I left off, with the same little lyrics where I got cut off at. I'm going to pick that up where I left off because it had that beat and that vibe and I just started zoning to it one day while I was sitting in the studio. I started pacing the hall and started thinking of some deep, crazy, sh--."
Twista also re-ups on the new version of "Feel So Good." The new version, which was produced by long-time collaborator Toxic and which features Jazze Pha on the chorus, features Twista rapping smoother, slower and working the ladies.
In another twist, Twista gives women the personality of drinks on the aptly titled "Drinks." Over a funky, Toxic-produced beat, Twista mixes and matches the personalities of Crown Royal, Alize and others into a compelling lyrical exercise.
"I wanted to do something different," Twista explains. "I like the ladies and the beat felt like that West Coast club sh--. I started thinking about the club and the chicks. Toxic was sitting around like, 'What's your favorite drink?' We got the hook together and then on top of the beat I started rapping to it."
Although he's known for his machine-gun raps, Twista uses "KAMIKAZE" to display his full rapping range. Over a gangstered out track from Kanye West (Jay-Z, Scarface and others), Twista slows down his delivery pattern and displays how effective he can be with any style on "One Last Time." "I want people to hear that I can bring it any type of way that I want to bring it," he explains. "I don't really have to pop it fast, but I know that that's what people want to hear. But at the same time, I want to make tracks where people can like my other stuff. It's about my creativity."
Much of Twista's creativity comes from the West Side Chicago streets on which he was raised. Home to pimps, players, macks, prostitutes and other underworld figures, this section of Chicago has served as the backdrop for many of Twista's rhymes. On "Pimp On," Twista teams with 8Ball and Too $hort, as well as famous Chicago pimp The Arch Bishop Don Magic Juan, for a breakdown of the way of his native streets, and a nod to the song that first brought him to prominence.
"It represents what I started from," Twista says of "Pimp On." "The first thing that really put me out there, that people really heard me on, was the Do Or Die song 'Po Pimp.' It's not as much about sticking to the whole thing of pimping, it's just the vibe where we're from in the city. I wanted to carry on that vibe and represent where I'm from. And then, I wanted to put down some true players."
One of the most influential and mimicked players in the game, Twista feels that he doesn't always get the respect he deserves from other artists in the game. On the dramatic "Show's Over" (which also features Freeway and Legit Ballin' member Beanie Franks) as well as the venomous "I Got This," Twista lets loose on his detractors. On the latter, he gives an abbreviated run-down of his illustrious career and addresses many of the rumors that have surrounded him since he released "Adrenaline Rush."
"I was kicking it around with the rumors," he says. "I was letting people know that I'm back and I've got a style that people bite a lot. All ya'll got your rumors, so let me tell you the real."
On the real, Twista is one of the most important figures in rap history. Before others rode rapid-fire rhyming to the top of the charts, Twista employed the style on his overlooked debut album, 1991's "Runnin' Off At Da Mouth" (released as Tung Twista).
After a few years on the DL, Twista reemerged with Do Or Die on the classic "Po Pimp," setting the stage for his triumphant return. The result was the classic "Adrenaline Rush" album, a collection that regularly appears on Billboard's rap catalog album chart today.
In 1998, he released "Mobstablility" with the Speedknot Mobstaz before launching his Legit Ballin' imprint, which has released three critically acclaimed and ghetto gold compilations.
All the while, Twista has been honing his craft and looking for the right time to return. "I represent for the MCs that have skills, not just make music for the hell of it," he says. "I take the time to concentrate. Otherwise, I could have 10 albums out there, easy. I could sit down all day and write something. But I write when I get in a zone more than writing because I've got to do this. I represent the artists that keep it true to what really is, to be able to make rappers want to write."
Twista accomplishes his goal on "KAMIKAZE," an album that solidifies his place as one of the premier rappers ever to clutch a microphone and marks his return to the top of the game.
"I want to show the streets that I'm back and that I'm true to the game," Twista proclaims. Musically, I want to show that I'm still out here doing my thing. After all the people that were out when I was out years ago fell off, I'm still out here competing with the shorties. I also want to gain platinum success. It's something that I haven't done."
--- from the official Twista website