Rapper Twista debuted as Tung Twista with “Runnin' Off at da Mouth,” which was released in 1992 after he made it into the “Guinness Book of World Records” as the world's fastest emcee. After appearing on Do or Die's hit single “Po Pimp” (1996), he was signed to Atlantic Records and debuted with the gold release “Adrenaline Rush” (1997), which became Twista's first album to chart on the Billboard 200. He, however, did not experience a huge breakthrough until seven years later with the follow up “Kamikaze” (2004). The album rose to No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums charts and was certified platinum by RIAA. The album spawned the Grammy nominated single “Slow Jamz,” which became Twista's first No. 1 hit, and the popular singles “Overnight Celebrity,” “So Sexy” and “Hope.” After “Kamikaze,” Twista released two more studio albums with “The Day After” and “Adrenaline Rush 2007” before launching the album “Category F5” (2009) via his own record label Get Money Gang, which he founded in 2008. His new album, “The Perfect Storm,” will be released in October 2010.
Twista formed the group Speedknot Mobstaz in 1998. The group released the albums “Mobstability” (1998) and “Mobstability II: Nation Business” (2008). Twista also made guest appearances on Memphis Bleek's “Is That Your Chick (The Lost Verses)” (2000), Trick Daddy's “Let's Go” (2004), DJ Drama's “5000 Ones” (2007), Mike Jones' “Cuddy Buddy” (2008) and The Alchemist's “Smile” (2009).
Carl Terrell Mitchell
Childhood and Family:
Twista was born Carl Terrell Mitchell on November 27, 1973, in Chicago, Illinois. He grew up on the west side of Chicago in a place called K-Town, where twelve streets all begin with the letter K. He has since commented that the area was abundant with gang activity.
Rhyming since he was 12, Twista, who was then known as Tung Twista, first gained public attention when he became the fastest emcee in the world and was listed in the 1992 “Guinness Book of World Records.” The record would later be broken by an MC named Rebel XD in 1998.
Twista's debut album, “Runnin' Off at da Mouth,” was launched on June 9, 1992. It became the first release of the hip hop label Loud Records, which was founded by Steve Rifkind in 1992. The singles “Mr. Tung Twista,” “No Peace Sign” and “Ratatattat,” were released from the album but failed to enter any charts. Twista was then dropped from Loud Records and after changing his name, released the album “Resurrection” on October 18, 1994. However, his album was only released in Chicago, possibly because of marketing conflicts with fellow Chicago rapper Common's album of the same name. Therefore, it gained little attention.
Twista's luck began to change in 1996 when he guest starred on rap group Do or Die's highly successful album “Picture This” on the hit single “Po Pimp.” The song peaked at No. 1 on the Hot Rap Singles, No. 22 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 15 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs. The singles' success led to a new recording contract with Atlantic Records.
On June 24, 1997, Twista released the album “Adrenaline Rush,” which was produced by The Legendary Traxster, Toxic, and B-Hype. The album rose to No. 13 on the Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums chart and became his first entry into the Billboard 200 when it hit No. 77. The lead single, “Emotion,” which he wrote and produced, peaked at No. 11 on the Hot Rap Singles and No. 50 on the R&B/Hip hop Songs chart. The next single, “Get It Wet” (featuring Ms. Kane) went to No. 96 on the Billboard Hot 100. It also charted at No. 12 on the Hot Rap Singles and No. 62 on the R&B / Hip-Hop. “Adrenaline Rush” was eventually certified gold by RIAA.
In 1998, Twista joined forces with other Chicago area rappers to form Speedknot Mobstaz and they released the album “Mobstability” on October 6, 1998. Produced by The Legendary Traxster, the album peaked at No. 9 on the Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums and No. 34 on the Billboard 200. The song “In Your World” appeared on the soundtrack of the Eddie Murphy hit comedy “Dr. Dolittle” (1998). It peaked at No. 17 on the Hot Rap Singles and No. 63 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks. Also in 1998, Twista could be heard on LaTanya's “What U On” and Do or Die's “Still Po Pimpin',” which charted at No. 85 and 62 on the Billboard Hot 100, respectively, with the latter single also making the Top 20 (#16) on the Hot Rap Songs.
Following the success of “Adrenaline Rush” and “Mobstability,” Twista established his own record label, Legit Ballin. Under the label, he released the compilations albums “Legit Ballin Vol 1: The Album” (1999) and “Legit Ballin Vol 2: The New Testament 2K (Street Scriptures Compilation)” (2001). The label later released “Tailwinds” (2001), “Legit Ballin Vol 3: Respect The Game” (2002), “Legit Ballin Vol.4: Tha Truth” (2006) and “TailWinds Vol.2:” (2006).
In 2000, Twista launched the compilation album “Adrenaline Rush 2000” on Innovations Records. It peaked at No. 95 on the Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums. The same year, he also provided a verse on the single “Is That Yo Chick,” from Memphis Bleek's second album “The Understanding.”
Twista released the triumphant album “Kamikaze” on January 27, 2004, on Atlantic. It garnered primarily positive reviews from critics and became a chart topper on the Billboard Hot 100 and the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums in early 2004. The album went platinum in March 2004. “Kamikaze” also charted in the U.K. at No. 18. The first single, “Slow Jamz,” (2003), featuring Jamie Foxx & Kanye West, rose to the top of the Billboard Hot 100 on February 10, 2004. The song also went to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs and the Hot Rap Songs and No. 3 on the U.K. Singles Chart. It was nominated for a Grammy Award in the category of Best Rap/Sung Collaboration. “Slow Jamz” also became the first single from West's debut album “The College Dropout.” The follow up single, “Overnight Celebrity,” produced by West, rose to No. 1 on the Hot Rap Songs, No. 2 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 16 on the U.K. Singles chart. It was certified gold by RIAA. The single “So Sexy,” produced by and featuring R. Kelly, made the Top 10 on the Hot Rap Singles (#7) and the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs (#10) and peaked at No. 25 on the Billboard Hot 100. It also charted at No. 28 in the U.K. The single spawned a sequel titled “So Sexy: Chapter II (Like This),” which was included on the re-release of “Kamikaze.” Although it was not as successful as the original, the song went to No. 95 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 47 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks. The fourth single, “Sunshine,” featuring R&B singer Anthony Hamilton, was not a success in the U.S., but fared better in the U.K., where it peaked at No. 3 on the U.K. Singles chart. The single “Hope,” featuring Faith Evans, went to No. 31 on the Billboard Hot 100, No. 24 on the R&B/Hip-Hop, No. 17 on the Hot Rap Singles and No. 25 on the U.K. Singles Chart.
The fifth studio album, “The Day After,” was released on October 4, 2005, to mixed reviews. It peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 and No. 1 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums and the Top Rap Albums charts. It also achieved gold certification in the U.S. “The Day After” produced three singles with “Girl Tonite” (featuring Trey Songz), “Hit the Floor” (featuring Pitbull) and “So Lonely” (featuring Mariah Carey). The most successful single, “Girl Tonight,” rose to No. 14 on the Billboard Hot 100, No. 3 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs and No. 2 on the Hot Rap Singles and was certified gold by RIAA.
On September 18, 2007, Twista released the album “Adrenaline Rush 2007.” It debuted at No. 10 on the Billboard 200 and peaked at No. 4 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums and the Top Rap Albums. The lead single “Give It Up,” featuring Pharrell, went to No. 95 on the Billboard Hot 100. Still in 2007, Twista was featured on “Hell No (Leave Home),” a single from Monica's album “The Making of Me.” He also contributed vocals to DJ Drama's single “5000 Ones,” which peaked at No. 73 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs.
In 2008, Twista formed the Chicago based hip hop and R&B record label Get Money Gang Entertainment. The label's first release was “Mobstability II: Nation Business,” the second studio album by Twista and the Speedknot Mobstaz. Released on May 27, 2008, it peaked at No. 54 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums and No. 22 on the Top Rap Albums. The label has since signed such artists as B-Hype, Skooda Chose, Gritz (R&B), Mello Tha Guddamann, Liffy Stokes, Cuzzo (Producer), Jo FloWroshus, ShowTime, Anya and Green Girls.
A compilation album called “Soft Buck, Vol. 1” was released on September 2, 2008, via the Siccness label. 2008 also saw Twista appear in “Money,” from Bizzy Bone's album “A Song for You,” and “Cuddy Buddy” from Mike Jones' second album “The Voice.”
The album “Category F5” hit the music stores on July 14, 2009, under his label GMG and was distributed by EMI/Capitol. A reunion with the Legendary Traxster, the album peaked at No. 1 on the Top Rap Albums and made the Top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 (#8) and the Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums (#3). The first single, “Wetter,” featuring singer Erika Shevon, peaked at No. 7 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, No. 3 on the Hot Rap Tracks and No. 44 on the Billboard Hot 100. The second single, “On Top,” featuring R&B singer Akon, peaked at No. 1 on the Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles. Also in 2009, Twista was featured with Maxwell on The Alchemist's song “Smile,” which was taken from the rapper and producer's 2009 album “Chemical Warfare.”
A new studio album called “The Perfect Storm” is set to be released on October 26, 2010, via GMG. Following the uncharted single “I Do,” the single “Make a Movie” (2010), featuring Chris Brown, rose to No. 48 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs.
A documentary film about Twista's life and music in Chicago is currently in production. Directed by Vlad Yudin, the film is scheduled to be released in 2011.