Wed, 15 Jul 2009 09:20:04
"Here we go again," laughs Twista with a big smile.
His new album, Category F5, just dropped, and he's ready to rip through the game once more. Twista's inimitable speedy flow has made him one of the most recognizable voices in hip hop. His raps are fast and fiery, but on Category F5, he also slows it down for the ladies a few times. It just shows that Twista can do it all, and the MC cooks up something for everyone.
He talked to ARTISTdirect.com for this exclusive interview about Category F5, appealing to more than one market, collaborating with some of his favorite artists and much more.
Before recording, did you have one idea in mind for the whole record?
I had a skeleton of how I wanted the album to sound and flow. It really started to bring itself together when I had too many tracks for one record. I had two albums' worth of material and I had to take songs away to narrow it down to what Category F5 is now. That process is always fun. We were like kids putting it together.
It's like building something with Legos.
It's exactly like that! You want to move this song down or up on the tracklist. Then you're like, "Man, this might sound whack coming after this. They aren't going to feel it if we put this here! The writers are going to talk shit if we put this here. We've got to put this last!" [Laughs] We thought about all of that and had a ball.
Did you know from the outset of recording that you wanted to call the album Category F5?
Yeah, I was throwing around titles and I came across the definition of Category F5. It read off how it reads at the beginning of the album with Traxster saying, "Bullets thrown through the air like missiles..." The definition sounded dope. Knowing that F5 is a twister, it was a perfect fit so I rolled with it.
Your voice sounds even better. Did you try anything new?
I would say it's probably three things. One, it's recording more with Traxster. He knows my whole vocal tone and he's an incredible engineer. Two, it's maturity and knowing how to flow. I know how I like my voice to sound and how I want to deliver myself. Three, it's just being in a peaceful mind state. When you're real happy about the music you're recording sometimes your emotion just comes out and your vocals are like, "Bang!"
Were the collaborations particularly fun?
For me it was real fun because I'm a fan of the music first. To do songs with Gucci Mane and Lil' Boosie was awesome. Those are artists that I respect and I'm a fan of. I was able to approach them because of the mutual respect so I had fun.
It must be cool to see the way the tracks evolve once they record.
Yeah, it was crazy! Especially with "Fire," the way Lil Boosie flowed on the track took it to whole new level. I like that song a lot.
"Hustla" stands out. What's the story behind that one?
That's produced by The Runners. There was a hook on the beat, and it just sounded like this intense hustle anthem. I like a lot of the beats that The Runners do. The way they make their hooks is awesome. When I heard it, it just took me. I said, "Man, this is dope as hell." I felt like it was something that I could really put out there for the hustlers in the streets of Chicago to give them something to vibe to. It's that hustle mind space. I was surprised that you said "Hustla" because I didn't know what people would think of that song. That makes me feel better [Laughs]. I'm happy!
"Jump Off" is great too.
You're killing me [Laughs]. I'm happy now! My man Chad produced that. He does a lot of beats for G-Unit and 50 Cent. At one point, he said 50 was actually going to use that beat. Knowing that 50 liked the beat made me like the beat off the top. Then when I heard it, I was like, "Man, this beat is moving like water." There was some type of watery bounce to it, and that's the way I wanted to come across with the flow. I feel it.
You capture a lot of different emotions over the course of this one album.
Thank you! I take pride in trying to bounce back and forth between giving the females something and giving the guys something. I definitely wanted to master the art of both. I think I've got it down pat somewhat so I should be cool [Laughs].
Well if you can get girls to the shows, the guys will follow.
2Pac taught us that one [Laughs]. If you can get the girls to be down then the guys will follow suit.
One song that was missing was "Problems" with Tech N9ne. What happened with that? It's such a dope track.
You know what? You're killing me that you say that. I didn't even think people knew about that track that much. I'm a little upset about that song. That's a beat from my boy JP. He does a lot of beats for The Cool Kids and stuff like that. That's a new song I'm about to get into anyway. I'm about to get into another project with him that's completely left field. It's got almost a split-personality type of vibe. It's going to be real out there. It's going to be hip hop but it's definitely going to be out there. JP produced "Problems." I'm going into the project with him real heavy. That track didn't make the album because we couldn't get the sample cleared. Certain things were going on at the time. It broke my heart that I couldn't put all of the songs that I wanted to on the record.
You and Tech have a lot in common in flowing so fast.
I felt like that was cool, but if I put a song on an album or any project with Tech, I want it to be a song where we're both going crazy. I didn't want to cheat the fans with a song that we didn't really sit down and craft what we could really do.