As a breakout artist in the mid ‘90s Twista—both on his own and with the Speedknot Mobstaz—was looking to add some trophies to the Windy City’s Hip Hop scene the way Michael Jordan did for their once abysmal basketball franchise. It’s been almost 20 years since then and while MJ’s playing days are long over, Twista is still on top of his game.

On his ninth studio album Dark Horse, the rapid-firing emcee makes it clear from the jump that he still treats Hip Hop like the Hunger Games. The 13-track (17 if you purchase the deluxe edition) LP once again features production from Twista’s longtime friend and frequent collaborator The Legendary Traxster. Dark Horse also features guest appearances by fellow midwest chopper, Tech N9ne as well as Wiz Khalifa, Berner, Chief Keef, Tia London and Chi-Town favorite R. Kelly.

In an exclusive conversation with HipHopDX, the Adrenaline Rush emcee breaks down Dark Horse track-by-track, giving fans a taste of what they can expect from one of Hip Hop’s most venerable emcees.

“The Dark Horse”

Producer: The Legendary Traxter
Featured Artist(s): Tyme

Twista Says: The name of the album is Dark Horse and the first track on the album is “Dark Horse,” the intro. Usually I follow the formula. So with “Dark Horse,” it’s reminiscent of Twista from the song “Adrenaline Rush.” That’s the vibe I was going for. That dark vibe. That usual intro that you would expect from Twista with that production from The Legendary Traxster.

“I Am Such A Mobsta”

Producer: The Legendary Traxter
Featured Artist(s): N/A
Twista Says: It has that mobsta feeling that you used to get from those Twista albums, like people would notice certain instruments in it. It’s just one of those joints that came to mind when I heard the Traxster beat it just came to my head like, “I am such a mobster / The Bible says ye shall prosper.” And I just started coming with the lyrics, so that song is like a Twista, street vibe on a mobster level as well as just an instrumental level. It’s a mixture, a nice mobster cut.


“Devil’s Angel”

Producer: The Legendary Traxter
Featured Artist(s): Mush Millions (co-writer)
Twista Says: That was co-wrote by my buddy Mush Millions. I wanted to feature him as far as a writer on the album because he’s from Chicago, which I like a lot, and [he’s someone] who I think is gonna do big things. When I first heard what he did with that song, I was like, “That’s gotta be on my album.” The beat is real hard. This is one of my favorite cuts on the album cause it represents that hard vibe that people wanna see from me.



Producer: DJ Tight Mike
Featured Artist(s): N/A
Twista Says: This is one of my favorite joints on the album, and the reason I got that on the album is cause of the feel. It’s got like a slowed down, trill type of feel to it. Another reason this is one of my favorites is because of the lyricism in that cut. What I decided to do with the “Beast” joint was combine scientific thinking with street thinking. So in the same verse I might say something about a gun and then turn around and say something about a parallel universe. So I combined science and the thought of a thug into one song.

“Getting Paper”

Producer: DJ Tight Mike
Featured Artist(s): Dra Dray
Twista Says: That’s one of those laid back melodic joints that you’re used to hearing from Twista that I feel like really is a big radio hit if it gets a chance to get out on that level. Right now it’s just on the album. It’s real smooth…definitely one of those songs you’d expect me to drop first on the album. [This one is] featuing Dra Day. That’s off the chain.


“It’s Yours”

Producer: The Legendary Traxter
Featured Artist(s): Tia London

Twista Says: “It’s Yours” is featuring my homegirl Tia London. She’s The Legendary Traxster’s artist on his label who I had worked with on my prior projects. So when I heard how she was sounding on “It’s Yours” I was like, “I gotta roll with this for a second, so “It’s Yours” is definitely one of my favorite joints on the album. It’s something for the ladies.


“One More Joog”

Featured Artist(s): Don Juan
Twista Says: This one features my homie Don Juan. This song right here is more of that today sound. People were asking me, ‘What type of sound are you gonna have on the new album Twista? That vintage sound or that new sound?’ “One More Joog” definitely represents that new sound. I’m talking about how these young hustlers are doing it today as opposed to back in the day. 


Producer: Xcel
Featured Artist(s): Tech N9ne
Twista Says: The reason it’s called “Crisis” is because that’s what it is because me and Tech N9ne is on there. It’s the number eight cut on the album produced by my homie Xcel, and we’re just rippin’ it over a real dark guitar sound, like a Rock beat almost. And the way we’re going in, it’s like a crisis for these other rappers out here. They’ll understand when they hear it.



Producer: Maxwell Smart & Cozmo of The Elevaterz
Featured Artist(s): Wiz Khalifa, Berner
Twista Says: This one features my man Wiz Khalifa and Berner. That’s a special joint for me ‘cause I always have a smoke out tune on my albums, and who better to do it with than somebody like Wiz Khalifa? They’re on there turning up with me. We’re letting them know how we burnin’ with everything down from the trees to the look of the ladies around us, to the look of our whips…everything. Just burnin.’


“Want My Love”

Producer: Lo Key 
Featured Artist(s): DJ Victorious

Twista Says: That’s just one of those smooth laid back melodies. My man DJ Victorious came with that new sound, similar to how these new cats are sounding today. Just that real innovative, even though it’s Auto-tune, everyone has their own way of how they use it. I feel like DJ Victorious uses it well and he did justice on the “Want My Love” joint right there. We got off on that joint for the females.

“Nothing Like Me”

Producer: The Legendary Traxter
Featured Artist(s): Gritz
Twista Says: That’s one of my favorite songs on the album. It’s featuring my artist Gritz. And the reason it’s one of my favorite songs is because I calmly, lyrically let everybody know what the fuck is going on when it comes to me and how I spit my words. If you hatin’ on me, we just lettin you know that there ain’t nobody else in the game like me that can spit it like I spit it and do it like I do it. I think when people hear this song they’re gonna be like, “Man, he got off on this joint. He go super fast with the lyrics but he shows you he can come with cadence, slower than his usual tempo yet still sound just as intense lyrically.”


“Me and You”

Producer: The Legendary Traxter
Featured Artist(s): N/A
Twista Says: This is one of my favorite songs on the album, if not the favorite lyrically, and because of the style and pace I went to Traxster’s beat. The rhythm of it is like this triple rhythm that you don’t hear people do a lot. That’s how I rhyme all the way out through the whole song, and I know it’ll be something difficult for other rappers [to duplicate]. So when they hear it, they’ll appreciate it like, “Wow.” To me the “Me and You” joint sounds like a vintage Twista cut.


“6 Rings”

Producer: Trebo Beatz
Featured Artist(s): N/A
Twista Says: That’s on that new vibe. I went into the groove of the shorties again with the way they’re doing it today. It’s kinda turnt up, but it’s letting you know that it’s me against the world. I’m a champion. I call it “6 Rings” ‘cause I’ve been in the game a long time and you can almost say I went in hard enough to be a person that’s had five or six rings. I’m a champion and I’m still doing it. Plus it’s a representation of Michael Jordan who played for Chi-Town.


“Throwin My Money”

Producer: Chris Millioanire
Featured Artist(s): R. Kelly, Gutta Man (Co-writer)

Twista Says: It speaks for itself. I’m talkin’ about the ladies in the club. Hoes wantin’ my money doin’ their thing. It was co-wrote by my homie Mellow the Gutta Man from Chicago. This one is for the ladies, and it’s just real laid back and melodic. This is something you play in the strip club and have the girls going crazy.



Producer: DJ Tight Mike
Featured Artist(s): N/A
Twista Says: It reminds me a little bit of “Death Before Dishonor” which was the second or third song from the Adrenaline Rush album. So if you like “Death Before Dishonor,” then you should definitely be into “D.O.A.” It’s just me going real hard talking that grimy street shit like how they love it in Chicago. So if you ain’t into that hard shit pass this cut. This one’s definitely for the streets.


“No Friend Of Me”

Producer: C-Sick
Featured Artist(s): Chief Keef, Stunt Taylor

Twista Says: That’s my joint right there. That’ll definitely be one of the most popular songs on the album because it’s featuring my homie Chief Keef. So you got Twista, one of the veterans in the Chi and Chief Keef, the number one young gun in the game. It’s gonna make for a crazy cut for people to hear. Then we got my man Stunt Taylor smoothing it out for us on the chorus. He killed it on that. In case you don’t know Stunt Taylor that’s the newest dude in Chicago that’s killin’ ‘em. He’s got the hottest record in the city right now.


“Got Away”

Producer: Oddz N Endz, Jonny Boston Whynock
Featured Artist(s): Jonny Boston Whynock

Twista Says: This represents my vibe, or just anybody’s vibe, when they feel like they let a loved one or somebody they care about get away from them. You’re sitting there thinking about how you could possibly get back to that person and that’s what I’m talking about on that song. It’s just about losing a person, reminiscing on all the good we had and then making my mind up that I’m gonna find a way to get back to ‘em. It’s a nice little cut. And that’s how we ride out: 16 in the clip, and one in the chamber.



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