Styles change. Tastes change. The rap industry is a fickle beast.
It’s not a career for the weak-willed or faint of heart.
“But if you’re serious about your craft, if you’re dedicated to doing what it takes, you can make it,” said Wichita native Antwan Richardson. “That’s my calling.”
Richardson – Twansac to his fans – is still going strong after 16 years in the business. He’s also enjoying another round of success via a new deal with 101 Distribution, the same company that distributes music for Gucci Mane and Rick Ross, and with Super Bowl XLIX coming to Glendale, Ariz., near his adopted hometown of Phoenix, this week.
For Twansac, a Wichita South and Southwestern graduate who moved to Arizona in 2004, making a career in music has been a decidedly grass-roots effort.
He got his first taste of success in Wichita, opening for Little Troy in 1999 at the Cotillion and following that with the 2002 hit “Cadillac Love.”
He also did a song in 2013, “Game Time,” for Wichita State University’s basketball team, that was played in heavy rotation on Power 93.5 (then Power 93.9) during the Shockers’ run to the Final Four.
He had three shows scheduled during the week of the Super Bowl with legendary rappers Eric B., Rakim and KRS One in the Phoenix area. He sells his own music, books his own shows and has gained an important foothold in Northern California’s Bay Area, a hotbed for independent music of all genres.
“I did a show with DMX in 2003, and he was the one that told me to come to Arizona, because it was pretty much wide open for independent-based artists,” Twansac said. “And I just started building from there. I shot a video with some artists in Oakland awhile back and that got my foot in the door in that area, and I picked up a lot of Bay Area fans that have remained very loyal.”
The last time the Super Bowl was in Arizona, in 2008, Twansac performed with Grammy Award winner T.I. at a pre-game party.
“The Super Bowl is huge, a huge money-maker,” Twansac said. “Everybody in the country comes to this … I’m selling records out of the trunk, basically, like an old-school hustler, and they sell out. Early on, I turned down deals from Def Jam and Universal and people thought I was crazy.”
His deal with 101 is a 50/50 split and facilitates another deal with Push Distribution’s Desmond Carter, who is putting Twansac back on tour starting in February. The tour will hit New York for the NBA All-Star Game festivities, and includes stops in the Midwest, Southwest and Pacific Northwest.
A lot of Twansac’s revenue now comes from online such as iTunes and streaming rights on Spotify.
“To me, his specialty is being able to push regions … his networking is so strong, that he gets into one area and makes a name for himself and leaves his stamp with his unique style,” Carter said. “And then when he comes back across, it’s like a toll bridge. They come out and pay to see him. That’s why we need to get him back out on the road. He’s one hell of an artist, as his fans will tell you.”
Twansac’s next big project, recording-wise, is called “Kanzona,” a venture he hopes will connect the best unsigned hip-hop artists in both Arizona and Kansas.
“I think it’s unique, I think it could be big and open some avenues that haven’t previously been there for artists in both places,” Twansac said. “And it connects my two worlds.”