I recently discovered a talented, hard-working young hip hop musician from the UK who goes by the name Twintwo. I loved his music the moment I heard it. Not only is he an amazing rapper, with a nimble, rapid-fire delivery, the music is joyously upbeat, with artful, melodically complex arrangements. His rapping with a British accent makes his voice especially appealing for me, plus he’s a nice, humble guy.
Twintwo was born 20 years ago as Robert Winterburn. Regarding the origin of his artistic name, he explained that he was the second of twins to be born, but before his parents could fully name him, he was designated “Twin II.” He’s been a big fan of rap music since the age of nine or ten, and started writing songs at around 16. In a recent interview with the blog Xustralia, he stated his music is influenced by Hopsin, Logic, Slaughterhouse, Machine Gun Kelly, and a bit of Calvin Harris.
He released his first song “Beggin” in June, 2015, and later that year dropped a 10 track mix tape All Day Everyday. That work featured original tracks, as well as his skillful rapping over a few hip hop songs by other artists, including the Logic/Ed Sheeran collaboration “All Along the Watchtower.” He ramps it up with fresh energy on his latest release, a semi-autobiographical EP titled Mr Winterburn. All five songs are awesome, but I’ll discuss three of them.
The first single, “Late Night Drives,” dazed my ears with its driving EDM-infused hip hop beat and Twintwo’s 100 mile-an-hour rapping. It’s impossible to listen to this exhilarating song without wanting to dance around the room like a crazy person. I never want the song to end so keep hitting repeat.
For the title track, “Mr Winterburn,” Twintwo sings about the challenge of growing up and struggling to have a music career, paying lyrical homage to Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” and twenty one pilot’s “Stressed Out” (two of my favorite songs). He sings “Yeah, I know I’m not taking this as serious as I should/I know if I could I would but I don’t understand the concept/Too immature for my own good.” Later in the song, he laments “I wish I could go back to when I was riding a bicycle.”
“Drug Dealers and DJs” has a jazzy, roaring 20s vibe set to a crushing hip hop beat. The old-time sounding horns throughout the song are a sonic delight, and perfectly tailored for the song’s theme. Since I wrote this review, Twintwo released a delightful video for the track.