With his eighth LP, The Perfect Storm, weeks away from release, Twista sits down for a candid discussion on past stumbles and successes, stumping video gamers and Kanye West’s cold shoulder —John Kennedy
VIBE: Rapping to your verse on “Slow Jamz” on Def Jam Rapstar is damn-near impossible. Have you played the game yet?
Twista: I played a little bit with the shorties. I’ve have been doing a benefit and I got a chance to play but I didn’t get into it real hard. Once I heard that my song was on there it definitely made want to see how high I would score rapping along with my own song. I’m glad that I was able to be a part of that one. It’s long overdue.
You have any tips for gamers trying to get to the next level?
Bop your head to the double time beat—not just the slow flow of the beat. And then rap along and you should be able to nail the lyrics a little better.
Easier said than done. Speaking of “Slow Jamz,” that song is part of our Greatest Hip-Hop Single (Of The VIBE Era) Tournament. Is that the greatest Midwest hip-hop song of the last decade and a half?
It was definitely up there. I remember we would go to certain radio stations where I wouldn’t have any record playing right now before “Slow Jamz” and it was like the top song, having 1,400 spins. It was crazy. So I definitely feel like the song does play a big part of hip-hop history, because this song literally launched Jamie Foxx and Kanye’s careers. And it took my career to another level.
Great record, indeed, but voters thought “Jesus Walks” was greater.
It’s a dope comparison. “Slow Jamz” is a real dope song as far as me having fun and wanting my song to win, but message-wise, you have to give that to “Jesus Walks,” because it carried a positive message. Kanye was talented enough to put together his version of a hip-hop gospel song, and forced people to play it. And if you listen to a lot of gospel rap today, he changed the way gospel rappers make their music.
Amen to that. Speaking of Kanye West, was there ever talks of you signing with G.O.O.D. Music? Seems like it’d be a natural fit.
I actually wanted to at one point. But I don’t know what time of vibe Kanye had with me at that time. He was in New York recording, this is when he was working on “Stronger,” around that time. I mentioned that I would be getting out of my [Atlantic Records] contract and wondered if he wanted to jump down. But I don’t know, I guess it wasn’t a good idea for him at the time. But he should’ve done it. He would’ve had the “Wetter” joint [Laughs].
Wow. And he would be putting out this new album, The Perfect Storm. Where were you looking to go with this one?
We had just made Category F5 so I was looking to continue on the weather theme—The Perfect Storm. Everything was perfect. We had the big single with “Wetter” so I wanted to recapture the whole creative element that I had with Traxstar—who did Adrenaline Rush—being my producer as well as having creative control of the whole project. I always try to do what the fans expect Twista to do at this point.
It seems like you’re often building on past records, like The Day After being an extension of Kamikaze, Adrenaline Rush and Adrenaline Rush 2007…
I probably wouldn’t have titled it [Adrenaline Rush 2007] if I was thinking in the same mindset that I’m thinking in now. I always take pride in being able to consistently rap the way I rap. So by the time I came with Adrenaline Rush 2007, I was proud of the fact that I could still deliver the same type of flow I could on Adrenaline Rush. I’m always trying to recapture the fans. I felt enough time had passed from Adrenaline Rush to revisit that title and spark up a little interest.
Did Adrenaline Rush 2007 live up to its predecessor?