Skills to pay the bills: Twista makes a living as a speedy MC.
Scheduled to perform on Thursday, April 13
Chicago's Carl Mitchell, a.k.a. Twista, isn't a musical or lyrical innovator, but he's got the fastest tongue in hip-hop, and his quick spitting -- and the collaborators he's attracted as a result -- helps explain why his career's on the upswing after nearly a decade in the game. His verbal skills are so freakish that he's essentially an instrument in and of himself, and with 2004's Kamikaze, his fourth disc, he finally found a producer who could make the most of them: Kanye West, who turned "Slow Jamz" into an irresistible hit by revving up a Luther Vandross sample to supersonic speed. The success of the cut helped draw enough talent to The Day After, Twista's latest, to compensate for West's absence, including producers Rodney Jerkins and the Neptunes and guest stars such as Pitbull and "Slow Jamz" alum Jamie Foxx. Yet the disc's most effective track is "Girl Tonite," an erotic exercise co-starring Trey Songz that's more likely to cause pregnancy without physical contact than any David Copperfield magic trick.