On Wednesday (October 27th), the lighting-tongue legend of the Midwest, Twista, spoke with HipHopDX about his eighth full-length, The Perfect Storm (due November 9th).
In addition to some noteworthy discussion about his new long-player during his Q&A with DX, Twista also chopped it up about his plans to “transform” himself as an artist, his arguable upstaging of Raekwon The Chef on their impressive new collaboration, his compassion for “Make A Movie” co-star Chris Brown, his clarification of recent comments made regarding his reported desire to join the ever-expanding G.O.O.D. Music roster, his explanation as to why he’s never collaborated with fellow Chi-Town veteran Common, and much, much more.
HipHopDX: I wanna start on a sorta serious note and ask what the state of the Chi streets are a year after your “Wanna See Em Buss” video that was dedicated to the 37 CPS students who were murdered in ‘08/’09?
Twista: It ain’t really changed for the better yet. We hoping for it, but still more people been getting killed [and] shot. It’s real tragic right now, what’s going on in the city. So, we gotta do something soon to change it. It’s poppin’ off, man, in a major way.
DX: You think it’s as simple as getting the guns? Like, if they make an effort to sweep in and get the [illegal] guns if that’s gonna do anything?
Twista: I think opportunities, doing – I don’t know if it’s a government thing, or a community thing, where we all need to try to figure out a way to create opportunities for the kids, so that they can have something else to do besides shoot each other. Every one of ‘em that’s shooting each other I’m pretty sure if you ask them about sports or anything, they can tell you [about it]. I’m pretty sure they can play the hell outta Madden…they can go outside and hoop, a lot of ‘em can do a lot of different things [with their time]. So I’m pretty sure if we create some ways to give ‘em something else to do, and catch ‘em early, that we can start to change what’s going on.
DX: Now you know I gotta flip it on you and just ask, the more gangsta moments in your music, do you think those send a confusing message to the youngn’s like, Why should I listen to Twista tell me to put the guns down when he putting out videos like “American Gangsta” making this gangsta shit seem glamorous?
Twista: Well they gon’ see it anyway, regardless. But I think if you do your part to let ‘em know that it’s entertainment, and they see you actually in that positive light, then they can accept it more… I think back [in the ‘1990s] it was like wrestling where they thought it was real… I think today with the Internet, and the way things are now, people are more in tune with the fact that it’s entertainment. So I don’t think it hurts an artist as bad as it may have back in the days to just come on out and let people know that what you do is entertainment.
The older I get, and the more I get into the science of music, and the science of the brain, then I do become somewhat torn, in between the crossroads, of what type of music I make because I’m starting to learn how much music and vibration and what positive or negative things you can hear in your ear as a child plays into the developmental part of your brain. So me being a deep person, I’m starting to learn how much bad music, or what you say, certain words, or use certain…harmonies in your music, all of these things play a part into the developmental stages of the brain when you at a young age. So, I am starting to learn things that make me realize that man, when I was younger I was making this [and] I never thought that this would actually do this. So I do, even on a scientific level – not just a level like, Hey, music’ll do bad things to you – I’m learning how much music play a part in it. So I wanna start to try to transform myself into an artist that makes music that more uplifts the mind-state [rather] than bringing it down. And that’s real.
DX: But, “sometimes I can’t help the violence when I kick random rhymes.”
Twista: Yeah, that’s the truth. I can’t help it sometimes. [Laughs] Even on that [song, “The Heat”], I felt like I was keeping it upbeat, then I had to slip a mickey in once or twice. Because, I definitely think balance is necessary too. I mean, good wouldn’t be good without evil. Positive wouldn’t be that without negative, so it’s definitely a balance to things [and] I am aware of the dual principle that nothing can exist without two. So sometime I might dabble on the other side.
DX: Just out of curiosity, are you gonna be showing your younger days in the streets in [your Mr. Immortality] documentary?
Twista: A little bit, not as much. That’s just the first stage of documentaries that I’m gonna be releasing. But I’m definitely planning on doing something a little more informative on the career side, and just to show the growth from a whole ‘nother level. This one is more so showing a personal side of me as far as like how I move around and how I do things. It’s letting you see how I move almost from a reality show perspective… And you might see cutaways showing images or things that show the stories about what I’m talking about… But, in the future I think I’ma get a little bit more in-depth… I got some shorty stuff in there though, you gon’ trip out [seeing].
DX: Did I see correctly that “The Heat” isn’t dropping on The Perfect Storm? Amazon doesn’t have the song included on the album.
Twista: It’s on the Best Buy version of the album.
DX: Okay, just the Best Buy version?
Twista: Yeah. I had a bunch of songs, man, [and] I had to move everything around the best I could to fit timelines and get everything perfect business-wise. And that was the way we came up with to – We wanted to give certain tracks to Best Buy to help sell that [version of the] album, [and] certain tracks to iTunes to sell this version. So, yeah, we spread them songs out a little bit.
DX: Did you and Raekwon connect just on some label-mate shit, or was this collaboration more organic?
Twista: Nah, it was organic, B. I had jumped down on a record with him for a mixtape prior to this. So that was my inspiration to get him on this track when I heard it. And, we really got a chance to build when we shot the video together – talking about doing future things together… So, Raekwon is somebody that I got a vibe with on a personal level.
DX: And, you know you blew The Chef outta the water on that joint, right? You “Renegade”’d him. [Laughs]
Twista: Man! I just be thanking people for the compliment. That track, like the way that came about, like a lot of songs I do, like I have to be careful to stay conscious of what I wanna do versus what the track tells me to do… With that particular track, just knowing that No I.D. and [The Legendary] Traxter produced it together, I listened to it, heard this Hip Hop Paul Revere type of sound, and I thought about Big Pun… My brain said, “Man, Big Pun.” And I just went into a zone that was similar to something that he would go into. ‘Cause that’s one of the top artists I respect lyrically.
DX: I guess it’s to be expected that Chris Brown will be seen as the star of “Make A Movie.” I take it you’re not of the belief that he shoulda been blackballed after the Rihanna incident?
Twista: I mean regardless to what happened, he put himself in that position. But at the same time, I feel like second chances – I believe in second chances. So, once he went through what he went through, paid his debt to society and came out of it – I mean, he did what he did, [and] now he’s on his second chapter. And that’s the personal aspect of it, but me wanting him on the track just happened to fall right in play when he was starting to be looked at in a positive light. And it really hadn’t had a big effect on me choosing him for the track. I was aware of what was going on, but listening to the track at the time period that I had the track is what made me hear him on it, and that’s why I asked him to get on it.
DX: It remains to be seen if “Make A Movie” will be as big as “Wetter” was. And speaking of, you know I gotta ask about how Kanye almost ended up putting out that hit. You told Vibe earlier this month that ‘Ye basically shunned your attempt to get down with G.O.O.D. Music. Is that accurate?
Twista: Nah, that’s probably how they put it, but I definitely didn’t say it like that. Especially if you talk to me a lot, or look at a lot of interviews I do, you got a lot of clowns out there that just say a bunch of shit just to get theyself off, but I never been one of those type of artists. I always been one of those type of artists that let my music speak. I’ll tell you I’m dope and I do my thing, but I don’t really talk like [it was reported in the VIBE article]. So, when we were talking I think a few things just got taken out of context. It was really me just saying that there was a period and a time where I mentioned to [Kanye West] about being on G.O.O.D. Music… But I didn’t really push for it, and he didn’t really draw away from it. It was just something that we spoke about at the time of being in the studio working on a song, so… I guess it just got taken out of context and threw out there. And then I started looking up and seeing a lot of Google Alerts and all that [and] I was like, “Damn! Somebody pulled one out of shit I said.” I was like, “Oh shit!” [Laughs] But, ‘Ye my man. ‘Ye is one of my favorite rappers, of all time.
DX: Well I appreciate you clarifying that…
Twista: And on a homie side – you gotta think, that’s my homie too. I might from a homie perspective be like, “Nigga! I got to get on G.O.O.D. Music.” We might talk like that, but that’s my character. That’s how I play. So when I talk like that somebody probably caught my character of how I say things and kinda twisted it a little bit.
DX: Now…Rhymefest talked to SOHH back in April about what he called the stalled Chi-Town movement. He said prominent Chi artists didn’t do what y’all were supposed to do and work together, before asking, “Why has Twista and Common never had a song together?” Thoughts?
Twista: Man, I’m mad at that [too]. I’m mad at the fact that we don’t have a song together. I think we just don’t…just the two vibes are different, and we just don’t come together at the right time or when the opportunities present theyself. But, I think the calling for it now is more than it’s ever been. I used to talk about it a lot, but nowadays when I talk to people I hear it mentioned a lot. And then I been in his face before like, “Man, you know we gon’ get it in before it’s over. So, already have somewhat of a concept or vibe in your head for when we get ready to get it in, ‘cause we will get in the studio together.” So, me and him definitely have the mutual understanding that we definitely gonna get in the studio and work together. We just gotta take the time out to go for it. And it’s gon’ be cold. When I get with him, it’s gonna be raw. I already got a couple of ideas and concepts in my head, so it’s definitely gonna be something that’s off the chain.
DX: Are you gonna have to slow it down, or is he gonna have to speed it up? [Laughs]
Twista: Actually, we gonna figure out a way to do a track where he can be himself and I can be myself, but the tempo and melody of the beat just perfectly fit both of us.
DX: Now, I mentioned Rhymefest, just out of curiosity, what do you think of Rhymefest running for 20th Ward Alderman? ‘Fest could end up deciding critical community issues for Woodlawn, Englewood…
Twista: It fucked me up. [Laughs] When I saw [Rhymefest‘s announcement] I was like, “Damn!” So, I don’t know what to think of it really at this point. I would probably have to talk to him myself to get his take on it and why he chose that path. But when I looked up and saw him just – You can see it in his aura that he on [to] something… [And] I definitely don’t think it’s a negative, as far as seeing a person of Hip Hop jump into something like that. I’m proud to see him do something that you wouldn’t expect a lot of rappers to take a step in that direction [towards]… He’s one of the first rappers I seen do something like that, so I’m like, “Damn!” I commend him.