My thoughts on Tech N9ne, Krayzie Bone, and Twista are all very similar, which might not be surprising since they are all considered to have Midwest “chopper” styles. Just like the other two, Twista is another good reason why I’m moving away from using the word “flow” to refer to the musical aspects of a rapper’s style. It’s hard to imagine Twista’s staccato, quick rhythms as flowing at all, using the same word’s other definition as something that goes smoothly. This whole article could be a very short entry:
2. Raps fast
3. One style
“But wait!” His legions (legions?) of admirers will cry. “He’s got more than one style!” Alright, fine, I’m sure he does. I’m sure you can dig up some song from some album where he gives a smooth, Biggie-esque flow there. And you’d be right, in a way. You’d be on track for the argument’s content, but you’re not on track for the premise of the argument.
Slick Rick didn’t go on to be a huge crossover hit and become as big as Elvis on a global stage; to sell millions of records; to have shows in Asia, Europe, and so on. Eminem did. Thus, it basically means that Eminem’s use of extended block rhyming is more important and more notable in the history of rap. Eminem not only pulled off extended block rhymes well; he put them in such a format and package, like the smash single for a major motion film, 8 Mile, and brought them to millions of listeners. Thus, in some sense, Eminem was the first one to make block rhymes awesome. If a listener or future rapper hears Eminem and not Slick Rick use extended block rhymes for the first time, then in a sense Eminem is the true originator, not Rick.
This is also what you have to think about when you evaluate Twista, or any rapper who becomes notable for one style. Everyone has heard “Slow Jamz”, so that’s what Twista’s style has come to be epitomized as. If all the most popular songs from Twista are ones where he raps fast, then he is a fast rapper.
My more general beef is that I’ve never heard any Midwest chopper rapper successfully merge quick rhythms with a tight technique on rhymes. Long 3 or 4 syllable block rhymes simply seem foreign to the style, maybe foreign to even the very physiological pronunciation of words so quickly. Twista falls into that pitfall, and doesn’t use them.
Of course, you can’t dismiss Twista without giving him praise for his breath control and articulation. It really is impressive, and fights the belief held by many that rappers are amateur musicians . But Twista never uses his technical expertise to its fully artistic extent. If you always rap fast, then that is the benchmark level a listener hears from you: you rapping fast. They expect that. But if you merge slow rapping with quick rapping, and know how to move back and forth from one to the other, that makes the quick rapping more interesting and impressive.
Much of this can be applied to why Eminem’s “Rap God” song didn’t deserve all of the media attention it got. Major international publications with no specific connection to rap but who must deal with cultural icons like Eminem regardless lost their shit over “Rap God”, such as Time Magazine. Just check out this quote: