Lady Gaga debuted new ARTPOP tracks during her recent performance at the iTunes Festival, including the rap-heavy number “Jewels and Drugs.” Not only did Gaga take a chance spitting bars on the song, but she also brought Too $hort and Twista to rap along with her.
T.I. couldn’t make it to the U.K. to deliver his verse on the track, but Twista was primed and ready for the occasion, even admitting to MTV News that he got butterflies before the performance.
“Surprisingly, she listens to my music and she’s been a fan for a while, so she reached out and we started chopping it up,” Twista said of linking up with Gaga on the track. “Ironically her DJ — DJ Shadow — is from Chicago also, so Shadow broke it down to us about how she wanted me on the record.”
“I got on the phone with her, we talked it out and got in the studio and banged it out. It was a jam,” he said.
Twist explained that hearing what was laid down on the beat inspired him to go hard. “When I heard it, it was phenomenal,” he said. “The beat was crazy. It switched up three times — first for T.I., then it switched up for Too $hort and again on my part so I was driven as soon as I heard it.”
Mother Monster’s only requirements were that the rappers not stray too far from their own unique styles on the track. “What she wanted us to do was actually be the true essence of ourselves and not go too far out of the box to try to satisfy her,” the Chicago rapper explained. “She wanted us to be ourselves, so that’s what drove me to rip the beat the way I did and come with my patented fast flow, ya dig?”
And, did Gaga need any tips for her own attempt at rapping? “She actually is very creative and can do her own thing,” Twista said, noting that she needed no help. “I knew that she was gonna do something before my part, because Shadow broke it down to me. She already had her ideas put together in her head about how she wanted it to go, so it was surprise when I heard it. I was like woah.”
When it was time to perform the track alongside the mega pop star, Twista was excited but understandably nervous. “It was crazy. I had actually performed in London before but to do it on that scale with a person like her, it actually had me a little nervous,” he admitted. “You would think after all these years I wouldn’t get butterflies, but I actually did that day.”
“We’re all talking about possibly doing a video for the song and everything so I’m looking forward to it,” he added.
Currently, Twista is putting the finishing touches on his latest album The Dark Horse, which he hopes to debut early in 2014. “It’s a representation of the underdog,” he explained. “The Dark Horse is the person that’s in the background, that’s least expected to shine or be responsible for what’s going on, and I think people are gonna be real surprised to hear where I’m coming from.”
The album will include production from Young Chop and features from Tech N9ne in addition to other Chicago MCs.