Life’s best surprises often come from unlikely places. Twista knows this better than most.
The pioneering platinum rapper put Chicago on the rap map and made the double-time rap style a rap staple. Despite selling millions of albums and popularizing a delivery incorporated by everyone from Jay-Z to Eminem, the Windy City rapper remains largely unheralded by the uninformed.
But it would take a while for people to catch up to Twista’s trailblazing rap abilities. When he reemerged in 1996 with Do Or Die on the landmark “Po Pimp” single, the rechristened Twista amazed fans and critics alike with his remarkably smooth rapid-fire raps. Twista then became a rap king with the release of Adrenaline Rush, his 1997 album. The collection’s mind-bending vocal performances, terrific storytelling and supreme lyricism placed Twista among rap’s premier artists.
“I think I helped offer in a new vibe, a new style to what we already had in hip-hop and rap music,” he explains. “Even though you had a few people dabbling in it, the level that I took the double time style to helped contribute to there being another style that you could do your music.”
Twista became even more popular in 2003 and 2004 when he teamed with fellow Chicagoan Kanye West and Jamie Foxx for the smash single “Slow Jamz.” Twista’s 2004 album, Kamikaze, earned him his first platinum plaque. Since then, Twista has remained one of rap’s premier practitioners and in-demand collaborators. He’s appeared on albums from Mariah Carey, Pitbull and Jay-Z, among others, and released a string of acclaimed albums and mixtapes.
But for Twista, it all comes down to the music. It’s the reason he’s remained one of rap’s top talents for two decades. “It’s the love of the music,” he says. “I do other things and I have other business ventures that I do, but my love is really with the music. I keep doing it and staying in it because I love music. I still get excited every time I hear a beat or think of a different flow.”
Now with The Dark Horse, Twista brings new life into his music by recreating his classic style and building upon it, too. “I try not to break what I know is already cool or what people want from me,” he says. “People want to just hear that fierce Twista stuff that they know and love. The main thing I’m doing with this album is staying true to what people know that I do.”