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January 21, 2009

Twig Courage

XReign of TerrorX

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?

They can steal my first album from this random music blog I just googled, and everyone should check out myspace.com/terracottaarmyhiphop and myspace.com/xreignofterrorx.

31 Responses

  1. I’m just basing that on personal experience, i’m sure many of them are quite fine people. I have a few punk friends that were better people as hard drinkers then they are now as straight edgers.

  2. straight edge people that don’t label themselves straight edge are cool but what kind of elitist herb feels the need to advertise it. it’s not like people that enjoy an acloholic beverage once in a while or blaze the chron walk around labeling themselves casual drinkers and recreational weed smokers hahaha. weak.

  3. His stuff is really good. I’m glad some music is still like this.
    he’s not advertising edge, or glorifying it. twig courage has no x’s in it. he’s just talking about how he lives his life and how it’s better suited for him.

  4. ceej, “No longer xReignOfTerrorx

    After making music under the moniker “xReignOfTerrorx” for over 10 years it’s time for a change. My music is not for straightedge people only, this is not yours and yours only, I feel the x’s in the name are limiting the power of my voice, to reach out and give my messages to everyone.”

    To me it seems like he’s reaching out. I know it’s difficult for a lot of people to look beyond the straight-edge aesthetic since there is some implicit judgment assumed on his part. Since his content deals with an alternative perspective, of course it will be met with resistance… I think his uncompromising personal philosophy is more than just about a letter in the alphabet. So, did anyone actually listen to the music or did my intro scare everyone away?

  5. I think its the photo that would scare people away, not the intro. I actually listened to his songs, some tracks are actually pretty decent, much better than i had anticipated. Didn’t catch that part about “No longer xReignOfTerrorx”, that sounds like a good move on his part.

  6. I think its the photo that would scare people away, not the intro. I actually listened to his songs, some tracks are actually pretty decent, much better than i had anticipated. Didn’t catch that part about “No longer xReignOfTerrorx”, that sounds like a good move on his part.

    the raps are good. i agree. i think i was expecting super weak, which is unfair, the whole ‘straight edge’ mark unfairly lowered my expectations before i even listened.

  7. A lot of y’all don’t know a lot about Straight Edge. I never understood how being stoked on who I am somehow makes me a dick or a preachy asshole. The drunk people who I make sure have a safe, sober ride home every Saturday probably appreciate my being edge.

    Anyway, a point I’d like to make is that people say “It’s cool if you don’t drink, smoke or do drugs. But why do you need to label yourself for it?”

    You could say that you like reciting words that flow and rhyme into a microphone over music, but you’re not an MC, but that would be fucking stupid.

    You could say you go to Church every Sunday, worship God, pray to Jesus every night and have the entire Bible memorized, but you decide not to label yourself a Christian.

    Or a homosexual could say they like fucking dudes in the ass, and are not the least bit interested in women but they don’t feel the need to label themselves as gay.

    Anyway, this is long winded as fuck and I gotta go to work, peace.

    -xMikexBrownx XXX

  8. Also, I realize that nobody was calling me out on a personal level, but statements like “straight edge people are fucked up” and ” but what kind of elitist herb feels the need to advertise it. it’s not like people that enjoy an acloholic beverage once in a while or blaze the chron walk around labeling themselves casual drinkers and recreational weed smokers hahaha. weak.” do come off as blows at me and a lot of close friends of mine because we choose to do our own thing.

    Also, every random you see in a Molson t-shirt they got for free in a case of beer is probably not an alcoholic, but they are sure as fuck advertising beign at least a casual drinker.

  9. fair enough. It’s just this is my introduction to this. Maybe it’s not his responses to the questions, maybe it’s the questions themselves.

    either way, good post Mr. Brown.

  10. maybe he was drunk when he got those face tattoos…and thats why he’s now straight edge…?

    but all jokes aside, this guys got some good stuff; not really my personal preference, but i cant hate that in any way, and he seems like an intelligent dude…..aside from the face tattoo’s..haha

  11. He’s in Courage Crew, which is a pretty big “Gang” (I use the term very loosely.) Those cats ALL seem to have face tattoos for some reason.

    Dudes are gnarly as fuck.

    Fun fact, one of the dudes from Outkast is vegan and straight edge.

  12. yeah andre is a vegan
    fun fact, he wasn’t when they recorded southerplayalisticcadalliacmusik.

  13. People can live how they want, as long as it isn’t hurting others/oppressing others etc. I spent a lot of time in the punk scene when I was younger and I have no beef with straight edge cats for being straight edge (some poeple are pricks, clean or not)… I’ve had more beef with rowdy drunks and methheads (and I’ve had some very close friends who were chasing one devil or another). The only real issue is when straight edgers become elitist, or exclutionary, or whatever else you want to label it. But, its not like hip-hop does that, right? Oh wait…

  14. Who gives a Flying fuck If he’s edge or not. That “X” Means alot to alot of people. I would love to see one of you guys walk on to a Scene in a Murder City or a Viper city Walk up to a guy with X’s Tattooed on him and tell him he’s dumb This is mostly going out to DEAD BOLT 6. Courage crew is not to be fucked with. I do belive Twig is also apart of X24X who has Names of vincent bennett(the Acacia Strain)and Tony Battle(xAFBx RIP). So before you go disrespecting a Life style. go out and talk shit to a Edge dude in the hardcore scene, I’ll Bet you 100 bucks your ass gets

  15. xx hardcore edgers xx are super lame.. great, you decided to go to the gym, get some neck tattoos and not drink or do drugs, good for you. nobody gives a flying fuck..

  16. Man fuck all you people , i grew up in a FSU house in seattle ever since i was a little kid. and have multiple X’x and crew tattoos on me and its MY life. no one can change me and its my choice, i have what i stand for but i dont talk shit about people who arent edge so its too bad our society is fucked up enough that i cant get the same respect back. and p.s. FSU wouldnt pay anyone a visit over shit talkers online ha and also , mike the founder of x24x lives down the street from me. hardcore isnt for everybody so fucking respect that and we’ll respect you. its sad i stumbled across this and was irritated enough to post.

  17. I would suggest everyone shut the fuck up read a book or get educated on something before they open there mouth about it. All of you are as close minded as the next. Respect brotherhood, crews are not gangs we are brothers.