Interview With Lady Twist

Fast-rappin’ hip-hop
artist Lady Twist has been making a name for herself on VH1′s ego trip’s Miss Rap Supreme, hosted by MC
Serch and female rapper Yo-Yo. The only openly lesbian rapper on the show, Lady
Twist was eliminated this week after failing to impress the judges with her rap
about drama in the Miss Rap Supreme house.

The 22-year-old from the Chicago area tells those
who have a problem with her sexuality to "love it or shove it," and she
has big plans for her artistic career. In a telephone interview with
AfterEllen.com, she talked about her hip-hop aspirations; her Midwestern heroes,
Bone Thugs-n-Harmony; and why she thinks there are so few openly lesbian
rappers.

AfterEllen.com: What is the origin of your name?
Lady Twist:
A lot of people think that Lady Twist means a lady with a
twist. When I was 15, I was just writing a song and I was in the process of
changing my name because at the time it was Lil’ K. And as I was writing, all
of a sudden the phrase Lady Twist just came to mind. So it just popped into my
mind, and I’ve been running with it ever since.

AE: Does anyone ever think that you got your name from [Chicago hip-hop artist] Twista, since you’re also from the
Midwest?
LT:
Oh God, yeah, most of the people I’ve met are like "Yeah, you Lady
Twista." And I’m like, "No, there’s no A, it’s just Lady Twist."
I wasn’t thinking about Twista at all when I came up with this, even though I
have a fast, similar style to him. My name has nothing to do with him. So it’s
just ironic that I happen to spit fast and have a name that can be perceived as
being a derivation of his name. I get that a lot.

AE: Well, do you think that the similarity in your styles comes from
that fact that you’re both from the Chicago
area? Also, how do you feel about Midwest hip-hop, especially the Chicago scene with
artists like Kanye, Twista and Common?
LT:
I grew up listening to Bone Thugs-n-Harmony. That’s where I got whole
fast thing from. I used to sit and literally play their tapes and CDs over and
over and write out every lyric that they spit to learn, because I wanted to
learn how to rap fast. It got to the point where I could write my own fast
lyrics and stuff.

As the Chicago hip-hop
scene is concerned, right now I think we’re really underrated, because you know
we got Common, Kanye West, Lupe Fiasco and R. Kelly — R. Kelly’s not necessarily
hip-hop. I think really Chicago hip-hop is underrated. People underestimate
us.

Chicago, we’re kind of known to be
storytellers. A lot of people don’t see that because they into Snap [music] and
"Superman" and all of that stuff, but Chicago artists are really talking about
something. … I think it’s going to come to a point where everybody is going to
realize that it’s all about lyrical content, and at that point, that’s going to
be when Chicago
artists are really appreciated.

AE: Talk about your inspiration for becoming a rapper. Where did that inspiration
come from?
LT:
When I was about 6 or 7 years old, I used to listen to Kriss Kross and
Another Bad Creation. … I would play my ABC CDs and my Kriss Kross CDs … and
I would perform like I was in the group. So I’ve always had this thing for
being in the limelight, for being in the spotlight and being the performer and
being the center of attention. …

Then when I heard Bone
Thugs-n-Harmony and that "Thuggish Ruggish Bone," that just did
something to me. That was like throwing a Molotov at a gas pump for me. Everything
just blew up from then — it was like, this is what I wanna do.

So I started studying
their form and their flow and really memorizing their lyrics and began to feel
their style, and then as I got older I learned how to write my own lyrics that
were fast, and then eventually I became who I am now as a lyricist.

AE: So that’s quite a trajectory, from "Iesha" and "Jump
Jump" and fabricated groups to Bone Thugs-n-Harmony?
LT:
That was just the beginning of me admiring artists. … They were getting
my attention and just me seeing them, I wanted to be like them. After watching
ABC and Kriss Kross, I knew wanted to perform, but I didn’t know in which
medium. But then when I saw Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, they so captivated me to the
point where I knew that this is really what I want to do. It is a hell of
transition, I must admit.

AE: How has it been for you to be an openly lesbian MC?
LT:
Well, for some strange reason people look at me and don’t really get
that. First of all, all of my life I’ve been a tomboy. Most females … go through
the tomboy phase and grow out of it at around 15 or 16. I never grew out of it.
I’m almost 23 years old — I never grew out of that phase.

The thing is, my whole
theory on that is this: If my mama and my family accepts it, anything anyone
else has to say, it’s simply their opinion and nothing more to me.

AE: How has it been for you on the show, being openly lesbian?
LT:
When I first got there, one of my first interviews was with the people
backstage and they were like, "You’re openly lesbian; how do you feel
about that?" And my initial thought was, you know, this is who I am.
Either they’re gonna love me or they can keep it moving, simple as that.

So I think that the girls
on the show — they accepted me for who I am. The thing is, my personality
shines through before anything else, so they really got to love me as a person
before they completely came to terms with my orientation. So I really didn’t
face any discrimination. I was cool with everybody in the house, so it worked
out nicely.

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