Since forming in 1997, Twiztid have changed the face of music, redefining the relationship between rap and metal while pushing the limits of lyrical creativity. By remaining true to underground culture, they have built an international movement: Despite receiving little mainstream airplay, every album they've released has reached the Billboard album chart. Nevertheless, in 2012, the duo, comprised of the rappers Monoxide and Jamie Madrox, left Psychopathic Records to begin a new chapter. Now, for the first time in the career, they have true independence.
 
Things have moved fast. In 2014, Twiztid formed a label of their own, Majik Ninja Entertainment, and it now includes underground favorites like Blaze and Boondox alongside rising stars like Young Wicked and G-Mo Skee.
 
"We have artists that are killing it in every different type of music," says Madrox. "We're keeping alive these old ideas that other motherfuckers let go to the wayside, and at the same time, we're offering a whole bunch of new type of flavor as well. We're putting out stuff that makes you say, 'Damn, that's what it's about!'"
 
Twiztid have become experts in the art of releasing records. Now they're using what they've learned to guide the next generation of underground talent. But this isn't limited to music—Majik Ninja is on its way to becoming an independent conglomerate worthy of Tyler Perry. "Music is just the kickstart," says Monoxide. "Five years from now we might not even be talking about a Twiztid record. We'll be talking about the movies we're making, and the other artists on Majik Ninja."
 
At the moment, however, there's still time for the studio, and the duo has more to say than ever. In January, Twiztid released a new album, The Continuous Evilution of Life's ?'s, to widespread acclaim, debuting at Number Two on Billboard's Rap Albums chart. One listen reveals why: This is one of the most energetic releases of the band's career, pushing the pedal on a furious sound that recalls fan favorites like Mutant (Vol. 2).
 
Fans and critics have pointed to the record's amplified metal influence, but Monoxide takes a more nuanced approach. "As far as talent—song structuring, songwriting—I think this album encompasses everything from where we started to where we are now," he says. "There is metal, but to me it's 75 percent a rap record. Only now we've found a way to encompass both worlds without it being forced." He laughs as he considers the accomplishment. "We actually got good at it!"
 
"This album is pissed off," says Madrox. "That's what rock is really about."
 
Twiztid was formed in Detroit—Detroit proper—in 1997. They released their first album, Mostasteless, in 1999, and followed with their legendary Freek Show LP, which contained the single "We Don't Die," in 2000. All 11 of the group's albums have reached the Billboard album chart. W.I.C.K.E.D., released in 2009, peaked at Number 11, making it the biggest independent release in the country.
 
Twiztid left Psychopathic Records in 2012, and they independently released their A New Nightmare EP in 2013. Underground Australia would name it the best album of year, making it the first EP ever to win the award. They released their first album on Majik Ninja, The Darkness, in January of 2015. It too won Underground's album of the year poll.
 
The group has collaborated with rappers like Three 6 Mafia, E-40 and Tech N9ne, and scored deals with Island and Def Jam. "Lyor Cohen pulled us into his office as was like 'You two motherfuckers can rap,'" remembers Monoxide.
 
Outside of music, they've co-starred in the movies Big Money Hustlas and Big Money Rustlas. Their radio show, Ashtrays & Action Figures, has expanded Majik Ninja's reach into podcasts and digital media. Never compromising their integrity, they've remained on the cutting edge of music for 20 years and counting.
 
"We're the epitome of the underground," says Methric. "There's nothing in the world like us, and our entire record label is built on that principle, promoting other artists who are like that too. We saw a lane open up, and we were like, 'That's it. This is our calling.'"
 
What does it mean for a group like Twiztid to remain underground in 2017, especially after so many years of success?
 
"For us being underground means continuing to be what made you true—staying true to that," says Monoxide. "We don't have to worry about anyone taking our songs off the radio. We don't have to worry about TV not playing our videos. Because we control everything. We found a way to survive without it."
 
"But make no mistake," adds Madrox, "if they want to put us on TV and see what it's like to be inside of our world, we still might show y'all."

Moonshine Bandits

Backwoods bravado, patriot’s pride, country soul, keg-thumping beats — these are the qualities that Moonshine Bandits have championed since they began burning up the California club circuit back in 2003.

Their message spread as they rolled from there through the heartland, the dirty South and beyond on their tour bus. No matter whether color their collar is or even if they wore a collar at all, people heard something of their story in their music — and popped back a cold one to celebrate that connection.

Plenty of their trademark sound and message resonates through Baptized In Bourbon, their new album — reverence for God and country on “Red, White & Blue Collar” (“We answered to the call when Uncle Sam cried/You know we always stand for what is right”), a celebration of backwater saloons and Saturday nights on “Stomp Like Hell” (“Before the bar doors close, I’m a-get to stepping/I’m gonna stomp like Hell just to get to Heaven”), a promise to stand firm for freedom on “Raised Up” (“If you ain’t proud of where you’re from, get the hell out of town”).

But there’s more — a new depth that encourages reflection, even hints of doubt. None of this compromises the defiant pride that’s always threaded through the songs of Bird and Tex, aka Moonshine Bandits. Still, something has changed since they released Blacked Out in 2015.

Tex knows why. “This year has been a whirlwind of touring,” he explains. “We’ll play at a bike rally in Oregon one day and then fly to Alaska. That’s had a lot of input on this album, especially on our songwriting. We’ve always been entertainers first, songwriters second. Now I feel like our songwriting has caught up to the entertainment part of who we are.”

In these past couple of years, he and his fellow bandit Bird have been in transition personally as well as artistically. They’ve gone from bus tours to jetting out for extended weekend jaunts. While playing for their die-hard, “blu-core” fans, vestiges of wilder days do appear, sometimes bringing old ways into conflict with new responsibilities.

Tex lays out the question candidly. “When we’re away from our family, is the way we’re living acceptable to God, with all the partying and crazy shit we do on the road?”

This dilemma was somewhere in whatever dream Tex was having late one night when he woke up suddenly. “Three words came to me: baptized in bourbon,” he remembers. “I texted Bird and my manager and said, ‘Hey, I don’t know what this means but it could be some pretty heavy stuff.’ The whole album started with that title.”

The Bandits and producers, Burn County, withdrew to a cabin/studio deep in a forest in the state of Washington. They talked about things they’d experienced, lessons they’d learn and questions that remained. Conversations evolved into lyrics; feelings took on musical shape; tape rolled. And after two weeks they emerged with Baptized In Bourbon, a project unlike anything they’d ever cut before.

“We didn’t sit down and say, ‘Hey, let’s do a themed album,’” Bird insists. “But the themes we were thinking of seemed to carry over song after song. It was like a circle. It wasn’t all heavy. There’s a lot of fun songs on the album too. But basically, Baptized In Bourbon isn’t just about bonfires and keg parties. There’s a lot more to it than that.”

“The Sermon” starts mournfully, with strings and a quiet acoustic guitar. Then a preacher breaks in, a beat kicks off and from the pulpit we hear the query that underlies all of Baptized In Bourbon: “In light of knowing that God is with us, and in light of knowing that He sees us always, how are we going to respond with our lives?”

The answer appears to be that you celebrate, you rock hard, you love without hesitation and fight without fear when you have to. And, if you’re Moonshine Bandits, you drive this story home with help from a gang of gifted guest artists: Crucifix on the slamming “I’m A Hellrazor,” Bubba Sparxxx on “51Fifty,” The Lacs on “Cards I Was Dealt,” Uncle Kracker on “Baptized In Bourbon,” Colt Ford and Outlaw on “Dad’s Pontoon,” Matt Borden on “Shook Me Up,” Jelly Roll on “Wild Ones” …

… and maybe most memorably, the legendary David Allan Coe. David Allan Coe has done some shows with the Bandits to rowdy audiences. Apparently he liked what he saw when Tex and Bird sent him their arrangement of his classic anthem “Take This Job And Shove It.” He volunteered to join with them in the studio and later on stage. Coe also personally called both Tex and Bird to thank them as well as tell them he enjoyed their energy-filled live show.

“I’ve always said there are three guys I wanted to work with before I quit music,” Tex says. “Two of them are dead; the third is David Allan Coe. We decided to shoot a video together at Shawshank. The night before we met in his hotel room. It was like we were old friends, listening to him talk about songwriting. The next day we went to the prison, where he had done three or four years of his life. We were kind of skeptical about what might happen because there’s a lot of emotion involved. Hell, I threw up after going into some of the cells. But he had a great time. Then that night, when we played a show in Bucyrus, Ohio, he did the song with us so we could have the footage.”

Bird smiles at the memory. “Then when we stopped the show to do it again, he gets on the microphone and starts rocking Kid Rock’s ‘Sitting Here Wasting Time.’ It was incredible to see a 77-year-old guy rap to a slow drum beat. The crowd went bonkers. I’ll never forget that. We were so proud to earn his respect.”

Baptized In Bourbon doesn’t stop there. The guys spin parallel stories on successive tracks, featuring male and female archetypes that their blu-core followers can recognize. “‘Renegade Rides Again’ says that you don’t know when the life we’re living is going to catch up with us. Then you go to ‘Hell On Heels,’ which is about some of the girls we’ve met,” Tex says, with a knowing laugh. “It’s pretty much all a true story. We don’t even embellish it. But that’s what happens when you run in this type of circle.”

This is the music that Moonshine Bandits will take on the road later this year, most likely on a bus tour this time. Maybe it’s a bit of a risk to mix the sacred and profane, the rowdy and the introspective, on record and then onstage. But the payoff here is twofold: Their music demands attention from first note to last. And because they enjoy a strong mutual trust with their fans, honesty is essential to that bond.

“I’m away from my wife and kids,” Tex sums up. “My partner has lost numerous fiancees because of this ride. Yeah, we’re out partying — not too crazy to where we’re out of control. And Bird’s dad is a preacher. So sometimes we do wonder if this lifestyle is acceptable. But this isn’t just about our lives. It’s a universal thing.”

At heart, we’re all blu-core. We all hear some of our truth in what Moonshine Bandits are throwing down. Maybe it’s time for us all to be Baptized In Bourbon.

Blaze Ya Dead Homie - Performing his self titled EP!

From his early days as an aspiring rapper from Mt. Clemens, Michigan, Blaze has assumed many aliases as he virtually clawed his way into the Underground Hip-Hop Scene, with merely a dream and an undying love for Rap to accompany his supreme skills.

After a brief encounter with Jamie Madrox & Monoxide of Twiztid in the early 1990s, an immediate friendship was born, which would later lead to Blaze working for the legendary Psychopathic Records (former label of Twiztid, as well as Insane Clown Posse) toward the end of the decade. Blaze quickly worked his way up through the company, all the while honing his craft and developing a concept for his soon-to-be persona.

One late evening, while attending a recording session in 1999 for the Island/Def Jam reissue of Twiztid’s acclaimed album Mostasteless, Blaze was asked to kick a verse for the track “Hound Dogs.” It was on that historic night that the notorious undead gangster known as Blaze Ya Dead Homie was born.

Shortly after, in 2000, Blaze released a self-titled EP that become so popular among his new and ever-growing fan base that he was invited to join Twiztid on their U.S. “Rock the Dead Tour.” He took to the stage each night with his newfound and unique brand of “dead gangster” theatrics, complimenting the image with shirts riddled with bullet-holes, wearing a blood-soaked clock rumored to have stopped on the day of his “death.”

Just as the fans welcomed Blaze with open arms, Psychopathic released his first full-length album 1 Less G In Da Hood in 2001. The record quickly became a landmark in the saga of Blaze Ya Dead Homie, establishing who and what the character is, and laying the groundwork for what he would become.

In 2003, Blaze set out to headline his first U.S. tour, with the likes of the legendary 2Pac’s Outlaws as main support. One year later, he released Colton Grundy the Undying, the first themed record for his alter-ego, weaving the first of many mythical stories from the perspective of his undead persona. The record was so well- received by the fans that it went on to rank at #9 on Billboard’s Heatseekers Chart, and #16 on the Top Independent Album Charts. The following year, Blaze was approached by gaming giant Eidos Interactive to contribute two songs to the video game 25 to Life, and joined a who’s-who of label mates for the 2005 “Psychopathic All Stars Tour.”

2006 saw the release of a “Deluxe G Edition” of 1 Less G In Da Hood, remastered and featuring new rare and previously unreleased material from Blaze’s first former solo releases. Later that same year, Blaze took to the road again for the “Tombstone Terror Tour,” his second headlining tour in the U.S.

Blaze’s third full-length record came in the form of Clock Work Gray, released in 2007. He also joined ICP’s Shaggy2Dope for the “Fxck the Fxck Off” tour, and later that year jumped aboard Twiztid’s “Guillotine Tour” to promote the Clock Work Gray release.

2010 saw the ambitious release of Blaze Ya Dead Homie’s fourth full-length release, Gang Rags. The record took a fresh creative route, enlisting a new cast of studio writers and producers to give Blaze a completely new sound. Deluxe versions of the album came packaged with different colored bandannas. The following year, a short-lived Gang Rags: Extended & Uncut Version was released in extremely limited quantities as a tour exclusive.

Today, Blaze continues to captivate and amaze his audience and entice new fans through his many side projects, guest appearances, and ventures into social media.

Whitney Peyton

If artists like Machine Gun Kelly, Eminem, and Missy Elliott miraculously had a pale love child that somewhat resembled Hayley Williams of Paramore, she would be just like Whitney Peyton. W.P. is a unique emcee, with a firecracker personality, hailing from the outskirts of Philadelphia, PA. Beginning close to home she became, and generally still holds the #1 spot on The Hip Hop Charts on Reverbnation.com in Philadelphia. Her continuous drive has also gained her several nominations (and wins) at the Lehigh Valley Music Awards (PA) for categories including “Best New Artist”, “Best Lyricist”, “Best Live Performer”, “Best Female Solo Artist” and “Best Hip Hop Performer” from 2010 through 2014. Whitney was nominated in the 2014 Tri-State Indie Music Awards (PA, NY, NJ, DE, MD) for “Emerging Hip-Hop Artist of the Year” and won.
Equipped with catchy hooks and relatable rap verses, she is the top voted unsigned artist in her home state on MTV2’s “On The Rise” contest and has been interviewed and played on numerous independent, college, and online radio stations. With no label or management, the rapper has also landed various TV spots, swept the pages of multiple magazines and music blogs internationally, as well as accumulated over 1 Million+ total YouTube views on her channel.
With an undeniable stage presence, W.P. has headlined countless packed events as well as performed with well-known acts including Jadakiss, Juelz Santana, Jim Jones, Sheek Louch, Hopsin, Rittz, Big K.R.I.T., MIMS, Tech N9ne, Paul Wall, Vanilla Ice, TWIZTID, R.A. the Rugged Man, DMX, and many more! She has collaborated on songs with Bizarre (of D12), Cassidy, Da Mafia 6ix (formerly Three 6 Mafia), WAX, MIMS, Daddy X and Dirtball (of Kottonmouth Kings), Caskey (YMCMB), Layzie Bone (of Bone Thugs N Harmony), Spectacular (of Pretty Ricky), Mistah F.A.B., Spice 1, Chris Webby, R.A. The Rugged Man, and the list goes on!
Despite her edgy image and attitude, Whitney was chosen to be one of the faces of Philadelphia’s “Unlitter Us” Campaign in 2010. TV spots for the campaign aired city-wide (and in surrounding areas) through 2011 on stations such as MTV, BET, Vh1, Comedy Central, ABC, and NBC. Whitney was featured using her rap ability in a spoken word poem she wrote about cleaning up the city streets. She also appeared in print and transportation ads, while additionally being seen alongside Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter at anti-litter rallies, and community events. urther proving her versatility as an artist, W.P. took part in writing and recording on an Anti-Bullying album geared toward Children in late 2011. The album gained immediate recognition winning a Grammy Award for “Best Children’s Album” at the 54th annual Grammy Awards in 2012 as well as a Nappa Honors Award, and Parent’s Choice Gold Award from the Parent’s ChoiceFoundation.
Whitney’s perseverance, and rapidly growing fan base earned her spots on both a full Canadian tour with Twiztid as well as a 40-date USA tour with rap legend, R.A. The Rugged Man (of Nature Sounds), and Potluck (of Suburban Noize) in 2013. In 2014 she continued her momentum on a 60-date National Tour with Oscar Winning rap group Three 6 Mafia (now known as Da Mafia 6ix) followed by a run as direct support for highly controversial electronica group Blood on the Dance Floor. Never missing a beat, Whitney Peyton is taking 2015 by storm by headlining her own touring dates while working on new music and visuals.
Despite her many hard-earned accolades W.P. still considers herself an “Underdog” in many ways. Having achieved so much independently, with an image not easily associated with hip-hop, it’s easy to tell that her fans appreciate her home-grown attitude and “Team Underdog” movement. After releasing several free EP’s she dropped what she considers her debut album, “On The Brink” last year (Jan. 2014). “On the Brink” features well-known acts from both the mainstream and underground and sold several thousand units worldwide with no official distribution! As a gift to her fans W.P. released a free EP entitled “Fear of Falling” this past March 2015 as an appetizer for a full-length album set to release later this year. If this biography is your first time seeing the name “Whitney Peyton” keep your eyes open because it won’t be the last.

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