The Twinz (not to be confused with the New Orleans-based female duo and one time Rap-A-Lot Record affiliate, the Ghetto Twinz, or the Ying Yang Twins, or any other twin rap duo you would like to insert here) are the Long Beach, California-based identical twin brother rap duo, made up of Wayniac and Tripp Loc. We first heard from the Williams boys on their mentor, Warren G’s debut album, Regulate, where they made a couple of cameo appearances. Warren G would add them to his G-Funk Music group roster and helped them snag a deal with Def Jam (which was also Warren’s label home) where they would release their debut album, Conversation.
Warren G would be responsible for sonically sculpting Conversation, producing all but one song on the album. Despite not having any hit singles and flying under the radar for the most part, Conversation fared well on the charts and received positive reviews, including an impressive 4 Mic rating from The Source at a time when it still had credible.
I don’t remember hearing Conversation back in ’95 and probably didn’t even know it existed until around ’05 when I bought it used on the strength of being a fan of Warren G’s production work on Regulate. I believe this is my first time listening to Conversation in its entirety. So let’s listen together and then have a…conversation afterwards. Yeah, I know that was corny, but it was worth a try.
Conversation #1 – Conversation starts with a skit that has the Twinz in the studio putting the finishing touches on the album (by the way, the closing bars that Tripp Loc spits are trash). Then our hosts ask the studio engineer, Greg, to play the album back.
Round & Round – The first song of the night (which was also the album’s first single) features Wayniac and Tripp Loc dropping subpar bars over a decent feel good instrumental and a poorly written hook. What the hell does “Twinz got the sound that goes round and round” even mean?
Good Times – Over a smooth G-funk groove the Twinz reminisce about the good old days of their youth. Their rhymes fair better than what they spit on the previous song, and once again, the talented Nanci Fletcher is forced to sing yet another poorly written hook.
4 Eyes 2 Heads – This is the only song on Conversation that Warren G didn’t produce. Soopafly (who’s credited in the liner notes by his government name, Priest Brooks) slides our hosts a synth-heavy poor man’s version of a Dr. Dre circa The Chronic era instrumental that the duo use to get into some gangsta shit over. Nanci Fletcher sits this one out, but the reggae-tinged hook doesn’t fare much better. After a zillion listens, I still have no idea what their saying on the second half of the hook.
Jump Ta This – A very mediocre party song that if you listen to it enough, you might start to believe that you actually like it.
Eastside LB – This was the second single from Conversation. Warren G sprinkles some G-Funk over Denise Williams’ classic “Free” record that Tripp Loc and Wayniac use to celebrate the place they call home: the eastside of Long Beach, California. This is a nice summertime barbeque record, and it uses a well-placed Q-Tip vocal sample, so I can mark off my Tribe Degrees of Separation for this post.
Sorry I Kept You – The Twinz drop off another “sac of that G shit” over another funky Warren G bop. By the way, I love the Richard Pryor sample at the beginning of this one.
Conversation #2 – This interlude is supposed to bridge the previous song with the next one.
Journey Wit Me – The Twinz show appreciation, dedication and motivation on this… conversation (bars!). Warren G’s smooth G-Funk groove is addictive and the uncredited male vocalist sounds great singing the catchy hook. This is easily my favorite song on Conversation.
Hollywood – Tripp and Wayniac invite Neb and Jah Skillz of Da 5 Footaz to join them, as they make a hip-hop version of Rufus’ classic song with the same title. Nanci Fletcher makes yet another appearance, playing Chaka Khan on the hook. It’s not one of the strongest songs on the album, but it grows on you after a few listens.
1st Round Draft Pick – I’m kind of confused on what the song title means. Based on the Warren G hook (which is equally corny and catchy) and Wayniac and Tripp Loc’s verses, the song is clearly about violence: the violence that the Twinz will inflict on you if you try them and the violence that goes on in the hood in general. But what the hell does that have to do with a draft pick? Are they calling themselves cream of the crop prospects that would get picked in the first round of a murderer draft? Or are they saying you’ll be the first to get picked and clipped if you fuck with them? Regardless, Warren G’s slick instrumental will keep your head bobbin’ way past the first round of this draft.
Conversation #3 – Short interlude that sets up the next song.
Don’t Get It Twisted – Our hosts use this mid-tempo groove to call out the ladies who suddenly want to get with them now that they have a little money in their pockets. A group called New Birth drops in on the hook and adlibs to add some gospelish soul flavor to Warren’s infectious groove.
Pass It On – The Twinz wrap up Conversation by inviting Mnmsta and T-Dubb of Foesum and Warren G (who handles the generic and uncreative hook) to take part in this very underwhelming weed session. The last bars of the song are the same bars you heard Tripp Loc say during the album’s intro, which is supposed to bring things full circle, I guess. By the way, the bars are still trash.
If rapping was weed, the Twinz would be mid-grade. On Conversation they don’t wow or mesmerize you with their rhyming ability and content, but they don’t completely suck, either. Instead, they deliver a steady dose of west coast slang and hood shit that doesn’t cover any unchartered territory. The heart and soul of Conversation is Warren G’s production. Most of the album is laced with G-Funk bangers that make the Twinz mediocre rhymes tolerable and Conversation an enjoyable listen. And by the way, Tripp Loc’s closing bars are still trash.