Timbaland-approved rapper Twoaym is ready for the spotlight

Dubbed ‘dope as hell’ by the legendary producer, the Columbus MC returns with lush, hypnotic single ‘Kush Mints’ and a new EP that finds her stretching from her boom-bap roots.
TwoaymCourtesy the artist

Twoaym doesn’t have a twin sister. But that’s not what the rising rapper’s students believe, with Twoaym, born Tiara Hill, having recently invented an identical sibling as a means of throwing the youngsters off of her scent.

“I’ve tried to hide [my musical identity] from them as best I can because of the work-life balance,” Twoaym said in mid-February from the inside of a parked bus, having just traveled to a performance with the drumline from Imagine Groveport Community School, where she has served as drumline director since October 2023. “But it started to get out, and I just told them that Twoaym was my twin sister. And they kind of believe it and they kind of don’t, so it’s become a thing going around the school.”

Assuming the ruse has held up, it likely won’t for much longer. On Friday, Feb. 23, the rapper is set to release her latest single, the lush, hypnotic “Kush Mints,” with a full EP following via Detroit-based WRKSHP, a label and artist incubator co-founded by Che Pope. In the run up to its wider release, “Kush Mints” has already garnered attention from the likes of producer Timbaland (Missy Elliott, Aaliyah), who compared the MC’s delivery on the track with Kendrick Lamar before offering up a succinct (and accurate) review of Twoaym’s skillset, saying, “You dope as hell.”

The rapper linked the Timbaland shout out, in part, to her work with producer (and Columbus expat) Angel Lopez, who has gone from crafting beats in his mother’s Hilliard home to working alongside the likes of Coldplay, Jack Harlow and Timbaland, who served as an early mentor to the increasingly in-demand Ohioan. “Angel, we got connected in 2021 or ’22, and he sent me some beats,” said Twoaym, who among other things recorded hooks for a yet-to-be-released Cardi B track and another by JT of City Girls. “I’m going to be working super hard this year for the world to find out who Twoaym is and to hear her story. And hopefully they love it.”

Twoaym’s forthcoming EP, dubbed The Story of Makaveli, could rightly be described as a chapter in this still-unfolding saga, a majority of its tracks coalescing in the early months of the pandemic, at a point in time when the rapper didn’t have much else to do with her free time other than reflect, write and record. “If you listen to the songs, most of them have this aggression. And for me, it’s about having my enemies fear me, and knowing it’s better to be feared than loved,” said Twoaym, who raps about collecting heads (literally) on darkly reverberating opener, “The Harvest.”

At the time, the MC said she had a lot of pent-up anger related to long-developing mental health issues, the end of a romantic relationship and the “bad energies” exhibited by some of the people who previously circled in her orbit. “When you have somebody around you that’s really not supposed to be around you, God or whatever eternal power will tell you, ‘This person isn’t good for you,’” the rapper said. “So, I had to get rid of a lot of people who I’m no longer affiliated with. And the people around me now are encouraging me to get better with my anger, with my aggression.”

But within the EP, the inviting “Kush Mints” serves as a sonic outlier, sharing musical DNA with “Collard Greens,” by Kendrick Lamar, and with Twoaym adopting a fluid, snare drum-like cadence she traced to her years as lead drum major at Eastmoor Academy. “I played snare drum and then I graduated into playing bass drum, quads – all of that,” she said. “Those cadences, and especially the snare drum, definitely tie into my flow.”

Owing to this approach, Twoaym said she has historically gravitated toward vintage boom-bap beats, which allow more space for her vocals to roam, her words sometimes doubling as the percussive element on a track. But for the forthcoming EP, the rapper stretched herself beyond this comfort zone, leaning into denser, comparatively rich beats that sometimes forced her to wield her flow like a fine-edged blade, roughing out space amid the sonic overgrowth. 

“What was challenging was getting the flow right over that beat, because it’s coming fast, and I had to come up with a cadence that matched the timing.” Twoaym said. “With this project, I’ve had to dive into experimenting, and I’ve definitely taken different routes with my sound. And I think what I’m doing is finding different pieces of myself, because I’m not an artist with one sound. … It’s just more so pushing forward and getting more into me and getting to where I feel more comfortable in my skin. Then I can really explain to the world who I am.”

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