Lil Twist is one of the few Third Coast rappers who was able to almost immediately transfer to the school of Dirty South rap. First scouted by Young Money Entertainment when he was 10, Lil Twist saw a rapid rise to fame in the late 2000s, but legal troubles in the past couple years have hurt the young performer’s career. Will Lil Twist still release a studio album, or were his features with Lil Wayne and Justin Bieber the furthest the young Dallas resident will go?
How Lil Twist Got Started – The Texas Twist
Lil Twist’s actual name is Christopher Lynn Moore, and he was born outside Dallas, Texas, on January 11th, 1993. But considering the young artist has been calling himself Lil Twist for more than half his life, it’s no wonder he barely uses his given name. In an interview with XXL, the hip-hop magazine, Lil Twist says that when he was seven, he met a man who helped introduce him to rapping. By the time he was ten, he had released “The Texas Twist,” which was a #1 hit in Dallas for six weeks, in part thanks to efforts from fellow Dallas rapper DJ Greg Street. At the height of the song’s popularity, Lil Twist also met Birdman, one of the founders of Cash Money Records.
While the young artist eventually lost contact with those bigger players, he managed to keep busy enough to open for Lil Wayne in 2007, when Lil Twist was only 12. Backstage at the show, Twist met Cortez Bryant, who had just been handed control of Young Money Entertainment. The label, created by Lil Wayne, immediately signed Lil Twist.
Later that year, Young Money brought Lil Twist to Atlanta, giving him studio time to see if his stage presence could be translated to an album. His time in the city helped him network with other artists. Once he was able to reconnect with Birdman, Lil Twist became one of the youngest money of the Young Money, Cash Money Billionaires, the collective name for artists signed to either label.
Mixtapes and Features
Since signing to Young Money in 2007, Lil Twist has released five mixtapes, with the single “Love Affair” off Class President being the biggest hit. The track heavily featured Lil Wayne, helping cultivate some of the buzz around it. He’s also worked with several other artists both on and off his label, such as Bow Wow, Young Money, Diggy Simmons, Soulja Boy, and most famously, Justin Bieber.
Lil Twist’s friendship with Bieber has been highly publicized. After being introduced by a mutual friend in 2010, the two teens started sharing unfinished tracks with each other, eventually agreeing to work on a mixtape at Bieber’s suggestion. While that mixtape is still unreleased (and may never be released,) the two have worked together on several tracks, notably “Twerk” and “Wind It.”
In 2011, Lil Twist was made a part of XXL Magazine’s Freshmen Class, an esteemed list of rising hip-hop and rap stars. In the interview, Lil Twist spoke about how he saw becoming a Freshman as a springboard for moving further up in the rap community. Since that interview, Lil Twist has worked with 2 Chainz, Christ Brown, and Miley Cyrus, and in 2012 released the mixtape 3 Weeks In Miami, a collaborative effort with R&B singer Khalil.
In 2015, after a short break from releasing, Twist debuted “Intertwine,” a collaboration between him and Bieber. The song is expected to be on Lil Twist’s first full album, Bad Decisions, which he has reportedly been working on since 2011.
It’s clear Lil Twist has benefited from his friendship with Justin Bieber. Before he was 20, the rapper had been able to work with some of the biggest names in Dirty South rap, because of his friendship, he was able to see decent success working with pop artists.
But many feel as though Twist has been a bad influence on Bieber, or at the least, bad for Bieber’s recent reputation. In January of 2013, a paparazzo was killed following Lil Twist. Twist was borrowing Bieber’s Ferrari, and the paparazzi thought it was Bieber. Six months later, Twist was arrested for driving while intoxicated, outside of Bieber’s mansion in Calabasas, California. Borrowing another of Bieber’s cars, Twist was alleged to have been going at least double the 30mph speed limit. In an interview Twist did after the arrest, he cited the past year’s difficulties as inspiration for the announced title of his unreleased album, Bad Decisions.
In March of 2015, Lil Twist was arrested with a roster of criminal charges, including battery and assault with a deadly weapon. The arrests were related to an alleged home invasion in November of the previous year. Twist and four friends are alleged to have assaulted “That’s So Raven” actor Kyle Massey and his brother, at their apartment, after being asked to leave a party the actor was hosting. In June, Lil Twist plead not guilty on all counts, and as of December the case is ongoing.
If convicted, the 22 year old could receive up to 25 years of incarceration. While these issues have not caused any issues with the other artists with Young Money, Cash Money, it has cost Lil Twist many of his pop connections. So while his full album, Bad Decisions, is still likely in the works, it probably won’t have nearly as many big names as it could have. Which is unfortunate, considering how much Lil Twist, especially his lifestyle, were able to influence pop music in such a short time.