Guest vocalist Tyme sets the table for Twista’s “Dark Horse” with these words on the opening/title track: “Did you forget about me?/How you gon’ forget about me?/Should have bet it all on me/Now you wanna f#^@ with me.” It seems Carl Terrell Mitchell b/k/a Twista is feeling a little forgotten by the music industry, and moments later on the same song he admits that he’s motivated by being overlooked:

“Let a nigga on the track and I attack and snatch a beat and murder it
especially off of an eighth of the bud
Now recognizin me is an abomination
Speakin on the coldest and I’m not in the conversation
Over-achiever, forever the underdog
I spit it but still omitted from every writer’s congregation
When I ain’t on the list with the mic splitters
Every once in a while I do be quite bitter”

If Twista feels that his name has been left out of the conversation it’s in part his own doing. A four year layoff would not have been a big deal in a different era of music, but in the time from “The Perfect Storm” he’s allowed a whole new generation of emcees to step in and fill the void, particularly in his native Windy City. While he was gone the Chi reinvented itself and a new generation of drill-hop rappers like Chief Keef rose to prominence. Not surprisingly Twista seeks to bridge that gap by having Keef cameo on the C-Sick produced “No Friend of Me,” though his track is only available if you purchase the deluxe edition of the CD/download.

Twista has not been forgotten by his contemporaries, even if he was gone for a minute or two. His rapid fire tongue flipping techniques have not rusted one bit on “Burnin” featuring Berner and Wiz Khalifa, with the later bragging that he’s got “so much money I burn it.” The entire track is a metaphor for being too hot though, with Maxwell Smart and Cozmo producing a typically breezy Twista track, fueling the fire with whatever oxygen Mr. Mitchell isn’t consuming to keep his speedy flow going.

Twista is also joined by long-time Midwestern contemporary Tech N9ne on the Xcel laced “Crisis.” He may be the only rapper from Twista’s era who can keep up with him when it comes to spraying lyrics like an automatic weapon, and the high-powered electronic beat suits them both perfectly. When you think about classic Twista tracks though you think of The Legendary Traxster powering his flow, and you’ll be happy to know he’s represented on five songs of “Dark Horse” including the obvious crossover choice “It’s Yours” featuring Tia London.

“Let me get straight to it
Her body like a Bugatti, ain’t nothin like a Buick
When we get passionate I’m in love with how you do it
No longer wanna lease it, I want the title to it
I might’ve blew it but now I know I wanna own it
and get rid of opponents but I know fame can be blind
Never knew nothin like it is so one of a kind
I know that it’d be stupid to not claim that it’s mines
She fit me like a glove, hop up right up on top of her man
Then with no hands she give me a hug
Go ‘head and reverse it baby you pop it like a drug
Askin me how I feel when I’m inside your love”

Given that the Twista chose the “Dark Horse” to suggest that he’s the one nobody bets on to come in first, it’s fair to say his history long since proved otherwise with classic albums like “Kamikaze” making him a household name. The only person who could take Twista’s legacy from him at this point is himself – either by refusing to record more albums or turning in releases that are subpar and uninteresting. “Dark Horse” addresses both – ending the long drought and dropping “quantum physics” on tracks like “Beast,” with warnings to his competitors like “don’t get it twisted when I spit it scientific” and “try to throw me in a blaze/take away my name/kick me out the game/but I ain’t gon’ let ’em.” As long as he keeps that vow his legacy is secured. From the sugary Chicago collabo’ of “Throwin My Money” featuring R. Kelly, to the stuttering semi-auto percussion bursts of “Me and You,” to the mellow finger snap rap of “Getting Paper” featuring Dra Day it’s clear that Twista has not lost a step nor his swagger. The only thing that can hurt Twista is staying away too long.

Twista :: Dark Horse
7Overall Score