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Written by: Robbie Ettelson
From his days as a member of Mobb Deep‘s entourage to his role as a third of Infamous Mobb up until last years superb solo debut The Project Kid, Twin Gambino has stood out from the pack. Currently completing work on his ambitious Infamous Queensbridge double CD (which features a mix of over 30 new and veteran rappers from the Bridge), I caught up with Grimey One recently to pick his brain on a number of topics.
Robbie: At what stage was Infamous Mobb formed?
Big Twins: Growin’ up in Queensbridge, we were all trying to be basketball players. All my friends, everybody I knew wanted to play ball first. Then the rapping scene really started popping off. Hav and P just used to make songs, put our name in there, then call us ‘The Infamous Mobb’. That’s basically how it started. This is before we was rappin’ too – they used to just always say, ‘Infamous Mobb, on they job!’ and this and that, so we said, ‘We’re just gonna run with this as the name of our group’, once we started rhyming. Godfather started rappin’ first, then me and Nitty came right behind him. We first got our record deal through Soul Assassins records. I used to be signed to Muggs but things didn’t work out. The song we did for the first Soul Assassins [album] was my first time really starting to rhyme…around Hell On Earth time. I met Alchemist on the second Soul Assassins album. We did a song called ‘Thug Muzik’ but Mobb Deep liked the song so we used it for their album. ‘Big Twins’ was the first one I ever did solo.
What can you tell me about your twin brother?
He passed away when he was nineteen. We looked just alike – we were identical, born one minute apart – we used to hang together every single day, you’d never see me without him being there. He was more high-tempered than I was – when there was a situation that happen, he was ready to flip quicker than anybody. We basically was the same. I just wrote this new song for him, ‘cos his son is older now, so it’s basically talkin’ about him and his son…if they could of met.
What’s your best memory of him?
Probably when we first left New York – our first time ever leaving New York. We had so much fun [chuckles]. Mobb Deep was doin’ a show in Virginia and we had a ball. I actually got pictures from that shit too. The album had just came out with ‘Shook Ones’ and all that, and back in those days Mobb Deep was famous, and the entourage was even more famous! Back in those days there was a handful of videos, so people always recognize me wherever I go, like, ‘You’re the kid from that video!’ But it ain’t like that no more, there’s a new video every hour! [laughs]
So were you the hypeman on tour?
I was the hypeman, sometimes I do road manager, sometimes I do security on that. Wherever I fit in at to make a little money, I was on it.
What was the wildest thing that happened on tour…not involving groupies?
I’ll never forget we did a show, a long time ago when my twin brother was alive, I locked myself out of my room. The show was in the hotel. The party was goin’ on downstairs after we finished performing, we went to the room and I lost my key. So me and my twin brother went to the desk and they gave us a key. Now that’s before the little credit cards you can get in the rooms now, the digital shit. So it was a key, she was like, ‘This is the only key that we got’ – it was the master key. Remember the party was goin’ down, so we kept the key and wanted to see if they would come and get it…they never came back and got it. So we started selling rooms and shit for weed! They caught us later that night, had the police come and raid our room and they kicked us off the property. Everybody that gave me money for rooms – there was like fifty people that gave me money for rooms – and they all had to get kicked out! That shit was funny as hell.
So what were you charging for a room?
I think I was charging $30 and some weed or whatever. So fifty people? We caked off.
How long have you know Tragedy?
I’m known him since I was a little kid. Actually I was in that video ‘Black & Proud’ – I’m mad young.
There seems to be a lot of bad blood between different factions of Queens MC’s.
We all grew up together, so it’s more people doing foul or fake stuff. For example Tragedy called me and Godfather and Nitty, said he got some money for us and wanted us to do a song for somebody. We went to the studio, did this song – he didn’t have the money so we only did half the song. We never heard from him again, next thing we know we heard a song with us three and three other kids that we never heard before! So you do stuff like that, people stop messing with you.
Same with Nas and that Screwball track?
Nas is just weird. You gotta understand that was on the strength of Marley Marl. Marley Marl did that beat, so that had a lot to do with him so that’s the only reason he was on the record with them.
But then he took his verse off?
It was a whole bunch of bullshit behind that. At the end of the day we all grew-up together, we all knew each other and it shouldn’t be like that.
What do you think of these blog rappers like Mickey Factz?
He sucks! Sorry to say this – he’s trash! Mickey Factz is garbage. I don’t like the new dudes.
What about Charles Hamilton?
Trash! Off the ass, trash! Them dudes are in the same category – they in the big garbage trash. They in the garbage. They suck. Is it just because they think they can freestyle ill? I dunno. I don’t like nobody to kick a rhyme and it doesn’t make sense. You freestyling and it doesn’t make sense to me? I don’t like it, I don’t care.
He’s cool ‘cos he got his own little thing. I met him in California at Termanology‘s album release party or something. He alright…he ain’t nothin’ I’d listen to, but he ain’t in the category with Mickey Factz and all them. Drake is killin’ it…
That’s music for teenage girls though.
But you can tell he can rhyme though.
Sure, but it’s not really my shit.
He sound better then Mickey Factz and them niggas! [laughing] And that other dude…Wale! He sucks! He’s the worst.
What are you listening to these days?
A lot of people don’t know this, but when I’m home or I’m in my car – I don’t listen to rap. I like old school soul, Al Green and shit like that. That’s all I listen to. Like today I was cleaning up my crib, I threw on some classic R&B and I was just cleaning up, listening to that. The reason that’s wrong is nobody is making classic albums no more. The last classic album I heard was… [Blaq] Po entire album classic.
What’s the story with this double album you’re making?
It’s basically me rappin’ with all the Queensbridge artists – me rappin’ with ‘Mega or Nature or different artists from Queensbridge. You could look at it like a Queens Finest part two or whatever.
DJ Muggs feat. Infamous Mobb - ‘Life Is Tragic’
Big Twins - ‘B.I.G. T.W.I.N.S.’
Infamous Mobb - ‘Who We Ride For’
Infamous Mobb - ‘Capital Q’
Big Twins - ‘Street Theme’
Big Twins - ‘Wanna Be Down’
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