Oh, man, I’m good. I’m chilling out on the East Coast with a couple of my buddies. I’m trying to let everybody know about the album coming out.
The last time we talked, you weren’t sure if you were going to keep the title Adrenaline Rush 2007.
I ended up keeping it the same. We came up with a few other ones, but this is the only one that felt right with the mindstate that I was in. I’m feeling like the true Twista fans love Adrenaline Rush. I’m feeling like that would be their favorite album. I’m trying to tell them that I feel them to the fullest and I’m trying to give this album to the true Twista fans. I understand what they like from me and I’m rewarding them for rewarding me by giving me so much love. That was the only title that I could stick with. I had to hit them over the head with this. This is Twista ten years after Adrenaline Rush.
Are you happy with how your single, “Give It Up,” is doing for you?
Yeah. I want to hear it more. I always want to hear it more though. It’s doing good though and I love the pickup on it. They were playing it during playoff games. It’s definitely getting the buzz that it should be getting and you’re going to be seeing me campaigning hard for that.
Why did you choose “Give It Up” as your lead single?
It was really supposed to be a second single because I felt “Give It Up” was a sure shot. I felt like we could hit them over the head with it. It ended up being the first one because we couldn’t shoot the video for the first single, “Whip Game Proper.” That was going to be the first look with a more street edge. I got my hometown behind me on that song. The Westside of Chicago was really feeling that. We didn't get to shoot the video for it. I was really upset about that but I wasn’t totally upset because the people did get to hear it and the ‘hood did get to rock with it.
We’re coming with the next video, “Give It Up.” We’re hitting them over the head with the Hype Williams look and the Pharrell feature in it.
Why does Pharrell have so much presence on the song?
That’s the homie. It’s the same type of vibe as “Overnight Celebrity” with Kanye West. He did the hook and he did the beat. The only difference is that I wrote all the lyrics out. It’s like the last song me and Pharrell did together too, “Lavish,” where he wrote the hook but then he also featured on the song. And then this last song that I’m finishing up that Kanye produced, he’s just finishing up a verse. It’s like that now with so many producers that rap now. You don’t just have to go and get the beat from them. You can grab the whole element of the producer because he’s also vocal now. You just get the whole element of Pharrell instead of just a beat. I think it’s all love.
How far can you take “Give It Up”?
I don’t know. As far as it needs to go. We’re just going to rock away as far as we need to go. If it rocks into some mega shit, then we’ve done it all over again. If it has a moderate effect, then we just keep it moving. I’m the black Jason. People don’t understand it. The record can fucking flop. I’m going to walk in the studio and blaze that ass again. Say I won’t.
How was the video shoot for “Give It Up”?
The video shoot was crazy. It looks like a painting. It’s not just a typical video shoot with girls jumping around. It looks like a painting. There’s an artist by the name of Mel Ramos. He combines different things like candy bars and blends them with beautiful women in a tasteful way; We went with that for the video because we wanted to go a new way for it. It’s definitely a new look for Twista. Like a lot of rappers these days, they’re not coming with a typical video. It’s ’07. We’re changing it up. I wanted to do world music that people could appreciate all over the world. You know where my home base is and who Twista is, but I want to give you different things. I’ve done the street vibe and I wanted to get a little creative with this.
Why didn’t “Whip Game Proper” go as far as you wanted it to?
Because I couldn’t get Lil’ Wayne cleared to shoot the video. That’s why it didn’t go as far as it could have gone.
Have you found that your column in the Chicago Tribune has been able to open you up to a new fanbase?
Yeah, definitely different people are listening than I normally thought. I hope the recent police harassment that we just got wasn’t because of it. It’s definitely opened up some ears a little bit. It’s not to shake up anything. It’s just me speaking my mind. If the truth hurts or the way I think hits people the right way or the wrong way, then so be it, but I’m definitely taking advantage of the opportunity to speak my mind.
Are you surprised at all by the response so far to your column?
Yeah, I was a little bit surprised because I didn’t think that many people listened or cared. I’m thinking that I’m just Twista. I do my little raps, make my money and sell my money as Twista the Rapstar. I didn’t think that that many people cared about a hip-hop artist’s perspective from that point, in a column. I didn’t think that that many people cared about that. When I saw the response, it made me realize how strong and how powerful a person’s voice is. People should think more highly of themselves. When it comes to voting and all that, it does count.
What was it like for you to work with Bone Thugs on “ “?
That’s the shit, especially because we mended something that was torn that should have been mended a long time ago. We’re from the same coast with the same style. You have people on other coasts that are looking out for each other, opening up doors and opening up for each other’s shows. They’re helping out each other’s business. We’re so behind because we’re from the Midwest and don’t have all of these lawyers and managers helping us. We’re so concerned with thinking that someone is taking our style and worrying about things that’s not pertaining to making money and getting shine. I’m just glad that we grew up to the point of being able to make music together. That’s what made it so fun. I was like, ‘I can’t believe we’ve been beefing all of those years!’ After all these years, here we are! I think there was a lot of fun that we all got out of it.
That must have felt good.
We’re actually going on the road with each other. It’s great.
Would a Bone Thugs collaboration have been possible five or ten years ago?
It would have, but it would have depended on how we met. If one person sees another person coming out of a record store, then that’s one thing. But if we’re both getting out of separate vans in the midst of the beef, then that would have been another story. I’m just glad that we didn’t let the bullshit, hate and gossip get in the way of talented brothers that deserve to be doing what they do.
How did the collaboration go down?
We just clicked up. After a couple of other people benefiting off the music that we did together when we weren’t together, we had to get up. We didn’t spit “ “ with Biggie. We were like, ‘Man, somebody else is making money off of us and we can’t make money together? Fuck that. We’re standing there, spitting side-by-side, spitting verses for him, but we can’t spit verses for ourselves?’ We squashed that right there.
Are you getting the push you need right now from Atlantic Records?
I feel like they have open arms and are willing to do what you give them to do, meaning that if you sit back and you’re a dumb, lazy artist that’s not making good music, then you can sit there and blame the label that it’s their fault. But you have to be interested in your music, talk to people working your project, get suggestions and check on people, like you do with any job and like you do with anything, then you’ll get the most out of it. If the question is, ‘Are they willing?”, then the answer is yes. When it becomes them not being willing, then it becomes a whole different story. But does every artist have everything in play? Maybe not. We’re all trying to figure the game out in an era where it’s changing right now.
Do you see yourself going independent in the future?
It’s possible. Maybe at the end of my contract, I’ll decide I want to go independent. Who knows? It depends on the state of the industry at the time and if somebody gives me a fat-ass check. It depends.
With the game changing, what opportunities do you have to take advantage of now to be successful?
Anything dealing with the internet, you need to try to be involved in, especially when it comes to the music. With music, I feel like we should be dealing more with these cell phone companies and the people who make products that you play music on. Artists have to understand that it’s not only about selling CDs now. It’s about selling your music on a broader scale now. You have to figure it out and figure out how to benefit from it. It can take some time, but you have to try to chase the game. It’s changing so fast but you want to try to stay on top of it.
How’s the Speedknot Mobstaz album coming?
It’s finished. It’s coming out in October. They put the final touches on it a week ago. That album is hard, man. You know us; we love the grooves, man. We’re from Chitown. We love the grooves. No matter how hard we’re going, we still manage to have songs on there that the people can groove to. I feel like the album can do real big.
There was a time when you were doing every remix possible. Will we see you doing more remixes now that you have an album coming out?
Yeah, definitely. I like doing my own records a lot, but as much as I like doing that, I like doing features on other people’s records. That’s one of the fuels that keeps my fire burning. I definitely want to get involved with the features as much as I can. I love rapping on other people’s music.
What’s next for you?
After this album, we have a big second-half of the year. August is the Twista album and in October it’s the Speedknot Mobstaz album. We have a bunch of work and a bunch of money-making. I have a club popping off in Chicago that architects are working on right now. It’s in the best area in Chicago to have a club, so you’ll be able to party on the Twista vibe when you come to the city. I have the Windy City Angels. I have a calendar going with them and it’s doing pretty good. I have a bunch of different stuff. Me and my man Creative have a few barbershops and we’re trying to open some more up. I have some real estate things in the works too.
What do you want to say to everybody?
Thanks for the love. Make sure you grab these records because I really took the time out to really understand the fans’ perspective and give them what I felt they wanted from Twista. If they want to have a nice time when they’re riding in their vehicles, in the bedroom with their girl or their guy or when they’re chilling in the club, getting their drink on with some Patron, they definitely want to be paying attention to this Twista album, because they’re going to miss out on some fun times if they don’t. And thank you. Holler at me on the MySpace if you have any questions for me.