Consider the following hater: he eschews your blunted freestyles, he hates your fashionable keffiya scarf, he has contempt for pointless punch-lines, he has disdain for your monetary success, he thinks your scene politicking is pointless, and he takes umbrage with the fact that you live your life (blindly) in a Judeo-Christian way.
Easier then, to just dismiss Twig Courage, better known by his solo hip-hop project XReign of TerrorX and from the duo Terracotta Army, as a forgettable underground hip-hop clone who happens to be a preachy straight-edge hooligan, right?
But there’s more to it than that. His 2005 release There’s a Last Time for Everything tells a different story than the one you immediately want to hear. He’s as much of a hip-hop head as he is a down with hardcore punk and he’s got a new album in the works and a track on the compilation Stone Soup which also features Swamburger (Sol.illaquists of Sound).
Who are you, where are you from, and what do you do musically?
Some dude from central FL that rhymes words into a microphone.
What brought you to hip-hop from hardcore punk?
I have been into hip-hop a lot longer than I have been into hardcore and punk rock. I mean in elementary school my friend and I were bumpin’ easy-e and cypress hill to name a few. I got into hardcore and punk when I was about 13 or 14. I am a product of both environments.
How do you think this relates to hip-hop?
I think all elements of hip-hop are needed and that is what makes hip-hop: the balance of the elements.
How would you describe hardcore to someone who has never heard/experienced it? How do you connect that mindset with hip-hop? Hardcore in its essence is raw expression, that was founded by oppressed people much like hip-hop, just a different nature and a different style, but same idea. Within that if you see the differences you can find the similarities.
Why do you think hardcore kids show you more love?
I think its because they feel they can relate to me better and I offer them something fresh and genuine.
What philosophy do you follow? How do you struggle through difficult times?
I would consider myself a humanist and a non-theistic atheist. I tend to study and use Satanic philosophy to help remind me of what’s real and how to stay at my best and be happy.
You have an uncompromising and unapologetic philosophy. Do you feel like that you’ve been alienated from hip-hop circles (specifically being at odds with the party lifestyle that hip hop has traditionally embraced)? Do you feel isolated?
Very much so. I have been doing this for a decade now and my only fans are those that can relate to me or can see the sincerity I propose in my music. I am shunned by most, and that’s ok with me, because my art imitates my life and the integrity in my music says a lot about who I am as a person. I may not ever be rich and famous but I will leave a legacy I am proud of.
What keeps you committed to both your music and how you live your life?
Discipline and balance. Those 2 things are a recipe for progress and accomplishment.
You have a line: “It’s all about the struggle, it’s all about the streets” (“Mo’ Money, Mo’ Bills, No Money, No Thrills”). What are your thoughts on socio-economic class (and perhaps race) and your take on the American dream?
I think economic status is bullshit. I have been poor my entire life. Don’t be fooled by any mild success I have achieved, I still have no steady place to live, no steady income, and no desire to look towards the future. I think the American Dream is a waste. While people are busy tying to earn success and accomplish something, the time is passing them by. I would rather be happy and have a life well lived. But that’s just me.. As far as race and class I haven’t figured that out yet. I often debate myself if classism see’s color… I have yet to draw a conclusion on that. One thing is for sure though, it all comes down to the age-old battle of the have’s and the have not’s. Is it relevant that more of the have not’s are people of different ethnic make up other than white? Or maybe poverty see’s no color, I just don’t know..
?You’ve mentioned Assata Shakur in your online blog. How do you identify with her struggle?
As far as Assata Shakur, I can’t relate to her struggle, not even a little bit. But I understand it, and I support it.
“Someone’s Attitude…” is clearly a middle finger to a lot of people…is there a particular type of ignorance that you are fighting against? I think I fight against ignorance itself. I think that is my main focus. I want my music to be thought provoking however it can be. I educate myself with LOTS of reading, also I listen more than I speak. I learn from life itself. I use my head, my common sense; I draw my own conclusions, and formulate my own thoughts and theories based on what I have.
Who produced There’s a Last Time for Everything? How is that album different from your newer material? How have you grown as an emcee and maybe in general as a human being?
Last Time was produced by Bad Mind and it doesn’t hold a candle to the newer material. I have been working with X:144, Khil, Lazerbeak, and Manifest Mccoy lately. X:144 pretty much pulled out and developed a whole new aspect of my emcee game. I’ve stepped it up as an emcee and not just a writer and speaker. I think in the newer material you will hear the improvement in my talent which is only getting sharper. Also I wasn’t afraid to get a bit personal, which I hadn’t done much of before. I think the newer stuff shows a lot more passion.
What inspired your newest album as far as being able to be more personal and passionate?
Well X:144 produced most of the new album and he really pushed me to do a lot of things I was hesitant about doing but they had amazing results, I have to say X was a huge inspiration in every part of the new album.
Lastly, where can people contact you or find your music?