Masters of Twist
So you think you can spit? Got some speed to your lyrics? Then you can associate yourself with some the best and talented. It’s one thing to fit your lyrics into sixteen bars with a flow that all goes together and tells a story. Now try and double (or more) those lyrics, still staying on beat without losing the flow of lyrics, and don’t run out of breathe. I give much respect to those that can do it. It’s not easy. Trust me. Let’s take a look at a few of my favorites in the game.
You can’t talk about twistin’ without mentioning Bone Thug-N-Harmony. The five members that really brought this style of hip hop to the mainstream. If you’ve been in a coma since the mid nineties, then it’s time to talk about them. Comprised of five members, Layzie Bone, Krayzie Bonre, Bizzy Bone, Wish Bone and Flesh N Bone, these guys showed the world how to fuse speedy written lyrics with that Midwest sound. Originating from, none other than Cleveland, Ohio, they helped really move the sound of the Midwest to the forefront of the music industry. They were discovered by Eazy-E and the Ruthless label signed them. From that moment on, they started setting the bar for speed. Their sound for the time was something that not many had been introduced to. Now, if you were from the Land, there’s a good chance you were at least familiar with twisting. Coming from the south, this was something that was new. Heavy bass line beats, a little slower tempo than what was around in the south and of course, the flow. I’d spend weeks rewinding tapes to try and figure out the lyrics. Once you figured out the actual words, now was practice to try and spit them without fumbling up syllable after syllable. Funny story. Fast forward 25 years later. I took the family to go visit my best friend and partner, Big H, back in Cleveland. Now, I hadn’t lived in Cleveland in about twenty years but it still felt the same. We’re all inside a tattoo parlor looking at some new ink options. On comes Bone. At this time, I’m in my forties. I noticed that the guy behind the counter had been watching me. After a couple songs get done, he walks over to me and says “I’ve been checking you out. You’ve spit every verse that’s come on.” Of course I have. I grew up with this and I’ve always been impressed with the talent of it. If you have just come out of that coma, once someone explains the internet, you need to go check out the song that started me with Bone. Thuggish Ruggish Bone. That’s just the start.
Now let’s head a little west over to Chicago. Home of Twista. Twista’s verses can be mind blowing when it comes to speed. He’s got the same Midwest sound with a slower tempo and heavy bass line (for the most part) but when he’s putting those lyrics in between that high hat, it’s something for sure. I’m more of a fan as the years have gone on. I feel his lyrical tempo has definitely sped up. When you listen to some of his collabs in recent, the speed makes it difficult to even try and process as your listening. A couple of his fastest, I would have to say, are 60 Second Assassin’s and Can You Keep Up? 60 Second Assassins is littered with artists that can hold their own for sure, but his verse has some fire. Can You Keep Up was a collab with Busta Rhymes (we’ll talk about him next) that is on some next level stuff, as far as I’m concerned. Check out both if you haven’t already.
Now let’s take a look at Busta Rhymes. Busta started with an east coast group called Leaders of the New School. While they had a run at it, he eventually broke off to do his own thing. Once of the things that thoroughly impress me with Busta is his versatility. Most of the beginning of his career had that standard East coast feel. Hard lyrics and New York beats. Busta managed to step out of that box and started laying down tracks that show cased his speed. And man is he fast. Not only is he fast, but can do it outside of a studio. I’ve seen interviews with him where they asked him to spit his verse from one of his faster songs. He spits them flawlessly. I have a hard time remembering what I did yesterday let alone sixteen to thirty two bars of twisting lyrics.
This is by no means a complete list. There are many other extremely talented artists that specialize in this type of hip hop. You’ll also find some artists that dabble in it. If you aren’t as familiar with it, I would highly suggest you head out and check it out for yourself.
Shameless plug- if this is an area you want to get into, go check out Pinnacle Premium. With that subscription, you’ll have access to our entire library of music. All cataloged in categories, one of them being Gettin’ Twisted, which is all of our songs that spit with speed. Hope to see you there!