Now considered a hip-hop veteran, Twista is pack with a brand new album. After releasing top singles like “Slow Jamz”, the new album features artists like Akon, R. Kelly, and more! Check out this exclusive interview with Twista as he spills the beans on Loud & Roc-A-Fella, Kanye West, working with Puffy, and more! This interview is a must read!
by William Hernandez

WHO?MAG: Talk about your new album?
Twista: The album I’m working on is called Category F5. The reason it’s called because that’s one of the highest categories of a Twister or a Tornado that you can reach. Just holding some traditions of some of my regular titles of how I do. It’s coming out in the middle of June. I have a bunch of dope jams on there and that’s what the people want from Twista right now.

WHO?MAG: Who is on the album?
Twista: As far as producers I have The Legendary Traxster who produced the whole Adrenaline Rush album. I got my in house producers Tight Mike. I got Jim Jonsin that’s a big thing for me to get on there. I got a couple of heavy hitters. Like Chad who worked with the whole G-Unit. As far as features I have Static Major that was a blessing because he just passed away. So we’re continuing on his legacy. I have Akon, Kanye West, R Kelly, Lil Boosie, Gucci Maine, and OJ Da Juiceman.

WHO?MAG: How did you rekindle the relationship you had with the Legendary Traxster?
Twista: With Traxster it was just about the both of us growing. My first real industry drama was with Traxster. So you got to think 10 years later. We both have grown through a lot of mistakes in the past that we both did. Through a bunch of trials and tribulations; he’s generally a good person and so am I. We both knew we’re like Shaq and Kobe. Even though we can do our thing separately with our own team; when we come together ain’t nothing but titles. We just stepped in a situation that put us back into that old thing and just worked on new stuff.

WHO?MAG: How is he in the studio?
Twista: He’s real laid back unless I get a little lazy. He’ll probably jump on me like a Dr. Dre vibe. It’s always interesting because he’s real technical. So to sit back and see some of the things that he’s learned that you see a lot of producers not doing in the industry today.

WHO?MAG: What label is it going to be on?
Twista: Big Money Game/EMI/Capitol

WHO?MAG: How did this situation come about with Capitol?
Twista: It was just me doing my homework. I had been with Atlantic for 10 years and was time to move on. So we mutually decided to move on. While I was out looking around; I was trying to see who was doing what and I felt a positive track record. After seeing what EMI/Capitol thing; what they did with the Fat Joe project and how it came out. Trina project how it came out. Looking at how they did J Holiday’s project. It was just a good home for what I was trying to do and the direction I wanted to go. I got see a couple of acts they have that I didn’t know about. So don’t get surprised to see myself collaborating with somebody totally unexpected.

WHO?MAG: Speaking of Atlantic. How did you get the deal with Big Beat back in 1997?
Twista: By working with Creative Way which was Traxster’s label at the time. What happened was we worked on the Do Or Die record Po Pimp. Once the record started to blow up; Do Or Die decided to take their record to Rap A Lot records. I knew once they left. I would be the premier artist at Creative Way. I’m much more of homebody so I decided to stay with the home label. When C Wall started looking for a deal one of the people they got in touch with was Atlantic records. That was how I ended up at Atlantic.

WHO?MAG: Why didn’t the whole situation with Roc A Fella never work out?
Twista: Because we couldn’t come to a business agreement between Roc A fella and Atlantic. As far as I could represent was being down with them as people and a crew. But as far as actually having the Roc A Fella imprint on my record. We couldn’t go that far.

WHO?MAG: The first record deal you had in 1991 was Loud records before they got big with Wu Tang. How did that come about?
Twista: That was when I got my first deal. Loud records at the time were just a promotions company. They were talking about turning the promotions company into a record label. At the time on of their promoters in Chicago knew my manager and took my CD back to LA with him. My man Fame who used to work at Loud records when it was a promotions company. He liked my music and flew me out to LA. They heard my first single Mr. Tongue Twista Hocus Pocus and they were fascinated by the rap style. I ended up being the first rap artist on Loud records.

WHO?MAG: How did you get on the Guinness Book of world record for fastest rapper?
Twista: Working with Loud. They had so many avenues going as far as promotion. That somebody their actually looked into a situation of how I can promote myself and that was one of the dopest things ever that somebody came to me with promotions. I don’t know where he found it so don’t ask me. Who told him? Or what? All I know Daddy Freddy had the record for the world’s fastest rapper. I broke that record and as far as promotions he helped me a lot.

WHO?MAG: How did you feel when your first album went number one?
Twista: On top of the world. One of the biggest things I felt was a sense of accomplishment for what I got in hip hop for. Some people rate success differently. Some people rate it on getting awards. Some people rate it as winning rap battles. For me for to have an album number one it was one of the achievements that I wanted to accomplish. When it happened I felt this big sense of achievement. I could pretty much do anything after that.

WHO?MAG: How did the Slow Jamz concept with Kanye West come about?
Twista: That was something Kanye was working on. The thing I feel like it’s a blessing for me is the fact that I can still be respected by artists that come out of Chicago. Because I remain relevant at the time Kanye was blowing up out of the city. He said let me get my man Twista on something. He had the cut called Slow Jamz and he felt it was dope for me to get on. When I do interviews I attribute the whole Slow Jamz vibe to Kanye. I was like let me use it for a single. You’re just going to put it on your album. Let me make it my single. We can shoot a video and we can do everything. He was able to make that happen. It turned out to be my first single.

WHO?MAG: How did Po Pimping come about with Do Or Die?
Twista: We were at the crib. I was at the house on grimy mode. We didn’t have too much money going or nothing around that time. I left out of the house and went to what we call the flea market in Chicago on Madison Street. I went downstairs like we always do. AK from Do Or Die was down there. A lot of rappers would meet up down there. We were down there talking and they told me they had a record called Po Pimping produced by Traxster. That they wanted me to drop a verse on; at this time I had reinvented myself from the old Twista who was on Loud records. By this time my style had gotten a little funkier and swagged out. I was ready to show the world my new rap style I had. Po Pimping was one of the songs I got to show how Twista was rapping now. We went to the studio with Traxster and everybody recorded their verses and bam! From they day I rode home with that track in the car. I knew it was going to be on and popping.

WHO?MAG: How did you hook up with P. Diddy on the No Way Out album?
Twista: Really it was the Po Pimp verse. Once the industry heard the Po Pimp verse a lot of artists wanted to work with me. I was doing work with Three Six Mafia, Usher, Puffy, everybody. When Puff heard the verse and he liked it a lot. He got in touch with my people and ended up going to New York and talking to him. That was one of the people that always believed in my talent. Who would always work with me. Once we did business again. It turned out to be so much of a big plus. That he came back and lets do this again on the next album part 2. Puff, Jay Z, Dame Dash, and Kanye West are four very instrumental people in taking my career to what it is today.

WHO?MAG: Why do you think Adrenaline Rush 2007 didn’t sell as well as Kamikaze?
Twista: Because they label didn’t push the record that much. They pushed it just enough to recoup. Right around that time the music industry started to change. That was when the reemergence of the whole 360 deals started taking place. Me being a well rounded artist they knew it was about time for us to part time. They just didn’t push my record as hard as they could. I don’t care how old I am or what you think about the industry. As long as I can go in the studio and make me monster get back!

WHO?MAG: Who were some of your influences coming up?
Twista: Hip hop as a whole. I can just pick about 50,000 names. We were talking about it last night. We were talking about everything from Chill Rob G to Lord Finesse to Organized Konfusion to Main Source to Run DMC to LL Cool J to Steady B. As you can see hip hop as whole when it came out.

WHO?MAG: How was the hip hop scene in Chicago back in the mid to late 1980s. Since Chicago was more known for House music?
Twista: That’s how Chicago was. Mostly House music I was looked as an outcast back the days. You had a lot of rappers. We didn’t start to get into it until later on. At the time I was influenced by rap. There wasn’t a lot of artists influenced in Chicago by rap. We were like outcasts. We were on something that nobody else was really on. That’s how it was.

WHO?MAG: Any last words?
Twista: If you’re ready for some more good music. My album comes out on June 16th and the album is called Category F5.