Dark Horse [Bonus Track]

by: Twista

When The Dark Horse landed on the shelves in 2014, you could link the label GMG (Get Money Gang) up to Universal by way of distribution, but that's a fairly "hands-off" relationship, and this album is firmly in the category of "indie" otherwise. That means it is not only Twista's return after four years off, but it's also his first LP away from majors. As such, it rolls out in an exciting yet sloppy manner, as the title cut kicks things off with more music-industry conspiracy theories than hooks. Still, it's a fan's dream as the always-rapid rapper runs off a list of who has done him wrong, but the casual listener doesn't get their fill until track three, when "Devil's Angel" lurches across the speakers like a David Banner swampy special, this one produced by P. Flawz. The ghostly tones of "Beast" suggest Twista is well aware of the A$AP Mob and their cursed vision of the hood, then there's the very-2014, very-crossover move of putting Tech N9ne on "Crisis," although the usually stone-cold host is quite welcoming here, feeding off the furious energy of his guest and turning the cut into a dazzling "Dueling Banjos"-styled, technical show-off session. The bad news is that there's no "Overnight Sensation"-styled single, but the good news is there's no shameless effort to re-create the crossover hit. The Dark Horse may damn the corporate music industry for not giving Twista an in, but this rough-and-tumble album filled with standoffish street cuts proves that indie life suits the rapper, so expect more punch and less perfection. [The Dark Horse was also released with a bonus track, "Throwin My Money."] ~ David Jeffries

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