Bursting out of Jamaica’s rising hip-hop scene, Twisted Minds is a talented duo of rappers – Dash D and KinDah – from Kingston, Jamaica. The duo has released two mixtapes thus far – By the Lake and Iron Balloons – which showcase their innate talent for lyricism and storytelling. Their latest release, Nigga on the Block, featured famed, controversial dancehall artist – Tommy Lee Sparta. Even with the growing success and recognition, Twisted Minds has still managed to focus their efforts on new, artistic sounds; and are quickly etching out their piece of the music scene.
Dash D and KinDah, whose real names are Damani Gardner and Djavan Warner, are best friends who attended school together and forged a bond over sports, video games, and music. The group appreciates the diversity in musical genres and continuously explores them to create an inimitable, resonating sound, while staying true to their multifaceted Jamaican culture.
We caught up with the duo to chat about their musical influences, how they became a group, and what we should look forward to from them in the coming years.
Twenty8+: Thanks for agreeing to chat with us! Please tell us more about yourselves.
TM: We met in Grade 5 when Djavan moved back to Kingston, as he was living in Barbados for quite some years, and me myself moving to Kingston from Manchester the previous year, 2003. When we first met I didn’t really like him as much, for no apparent reason, maybe it was his accent. However, we became best friends the next school year when both our moms forgot to pick us up after school, leaving us with nobody else to talk to but each other. We cemented our friendship that day by playing with Dragonball Z Tazos, those circular things that came in Frito-Lay chips. They were cool. All of Mona Prep can testify that.
Twenty8+: How did you guys come up with the name – Twisted Minds?
TM: We actually stole the name from my sister. Back when MSN messenger was a thing she used to put it in her status just to be kinda different. Twisted Minds Production, that’s was her status thingy. I saw it and ran with it. If I never did we’d probably be still called Kre8tive Ent., which is a much lamer name.
Twenty8+: What were you doing before the music?
TM: Nothing much really. We were just going to school and being fans of music and doing lots of sports. Football, Track and Field, Hockey. Regular teen stuff.
Twenty8+: Jamaica is commonly associated with reggae and/or dancehall music. Describe the Twisted Minds sound.
TM: We’re a NutriBullet of music. We love to blend sounds. You’ll hear rock influenced songs like “Starting XI”, mixed with a dancehall feeling in “Niggas on the Block” and some reggae resonance in our upcoming song “What’s It Gonna Be?”. Our lyrics is just personal and honest. When you hear a Twisted Minds song you hear what we live and how we live it. Nothing fake.
Twenty8+: What is different about the music you create? What do you think sets you guys apart from other rappers?
TM: Actually, The fact that we blend sounds and incorporate our raw culture into our music is what sets us apart. We all know that Jamaica has legends in music and the fact that we use their past knowledge into our own sound is vital to what we do musically. There are a lot of people in rap who use the Jamaican dialect in their songs, whether by sampling it or mimicking because it sounds cool. Who can blame them. Jamaica is a cool place, except for the heatstroke that’s eminent while giving this interview. Haha. Bad joke? okay.
Twenty8+: What musical albums have impacted you the most?
TM: For me it’s everything Coldplay. They create my favourite music. For KinDah, the first album that impacted him was the Eminem show. It was the first album he listened to that wasn’t all fun and dance but with actual meaning that evoke personal emotions. Anybody can make rhymes to a beat, but the art of conveying your personal life in the shape of a story or a message just makes you a lot more unique. Which is why we love rappers Drake, Kendrick, J. Cole Logic and Asher Roth.
Twenty8+: Describe a typical studio session for Twisted Minds.
TM: We take studio sessions seriously until we go to the studio. We would have a plan to work on some ideas but the end up wasting time. We end up talking about new music, girls, problems with the world, you name it, we have laughs about it, in a good way. It’s not even so much as wasting time because it gives us a connection and helps us understand each other musically. Gives us a chemistry between Phil (Our producer) and us. So we have fun with our sounds.
Twenty8+: Your upcoming project is Iron Balloons. What is the basis for that compilation and when will it be released? How will Iron Balloons differ from your first compilation – By the Lake?
TM: Well the idea came to KinDah back in 2013 after we released our first project “By The Lake”. The term in Jamaica, I don’t know if it’s known anywhere else, means you are not gonna ‘buss’. Buss means not gonna make it in life. So it’s an ironic title for a project. We were planning to release the 11 track project in full but we had to split the project into 2 parts. Part 1 of the project is to be released in late march and then the latter half at the beginning of summer. By the Lake was a sort of a rookie outing, we did not know the ins and outs of music yet so it never really hit the heights we wanted. Iron Balloons has more of a structure and it’s a concept project in itself, where we talk about our dreams and the sTM: achieve them.
Twenty8+: What do you guys hope to accomplish with your music?
TM: We hope to do what every artiste wants to do, make a name for themselves. But it’s not only a selfish view. We want our music to be recognized so that people can pay more attention to our culture and see that it has evolved from just dancehall and reggae. We want it to be known for rapping talent. We know many guys out here whether it be producers, actual rappers or plain ole rap fans who love the genre and who would love to be a part of that culture. So from a cliché point of view TM:r the country.
Twenty8+: Other than Iron Balloons, what’s next for Twisted Minds?
TM: More projects with bigger acts. Both locally and internationally. I’m also working on his solo project titled Board Game Life which is supposed to be released around November of this year. So keep tabs on us this year.