Interview With Lady Twist

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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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