It’s long been known that rappers don’t major on subtlety, so it should come as no surprise to find Twista faking the explosion of his own carin the first minute of his fifth album. It’s an immediate cue for anguished wailing on the part of diva Syleena Johnson, as she assures therapper “you’re gonna make it!” as he fights for his life.
And guess what? He pulls through handsomely, so much so that he’s able to indulge his fantasy of “two bitches in the bed” on Chocolate Fe’sAnd Redbones – not one for the parents’ ears, this – and enjoys some bling with the help of Pharrell in Lavish.
And yet, self indulgent as all this is, Twista has made an extremely good album. His quickfire rapping dominates, whether in the excellent,darkly shaded Check That Hoe, with its nervy strings, or in Had To Call, where he seems to be about three times as fast as Snoop Dogg. On the soulful side, Chocolate Fe’s lingers long in the memory with its catchymelody, as does Girl Tonite, with Trey Songz contributing a rich vocal.The darkly sinister rap Lil’ Kim brings to Do Wrong combines well with a disembodied Al Green sample to give an unsettling portrait of a cheater, and even Mariah Carey seems more energised than normal for So Lonely, even if she overdoes the breathless siren role.
So we have sex – by the bucket load – and violence too, in Heartbeat, which begins with a barrage of gunfire. In Holding Down The Game,Twista raps about “running through the streets with my hand on the trigger”. If hip hop wanted to purge its image of guns and street violence for alife of peace, love and unity there’s not much help coming from the Twista quarter!
Elsewhere Kanye West‘s ‘helium’ technique gets briefemployment for Twista to inform the masses “I’m a winner in bed” on the penultimate track, while the record’s commendable lack of filler continues to thefinal call to arms from Pitbull in Hit The Floor.
After the relatively soulful sunshine of his previous album, then, it would seem Twista’s dark side has come to the fore in time for the nextepisode. And it works, making sure all the hip hop cliches are fulfilled in the process.