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Ghetto Twiinz / Ghetto Twinz

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New Orleans, once known for Dixieland jazz, Mardi Gras and Creole cuisine, now boasts one of the nation's poorest municipalities, one of the planet's most corrupt Police Departments and a murder rate that has hovered around the nation's top 10 for more than a decade. Youngsters jamming with instruments on the corner have been replaced by groups of kids hustling drugs, sex or whatever they can to make their dreams come true.

The Ghetto Twiinz, G.B. (Tonya Jupiter) and T.L.T. (Tremethia Jupiter), are far from victims, yet they are survivors of the Crescent City's school of hard knocks and some of life's harder lessons. Their 24-year old eyes have seen many tragic scenes unfold on the Bayou City's streets, some of which they share with listeners on their Upper Level/Rap-A-Lot/Noo Trybe debut In That Water, none of which they would wish on their worst enemy. "We're trying to send a message. We don't want people to think we're negative. We want them to say, 'Damn, that's a situation I don't want to find myself in.' Especially the ones who are out there living the kind of lives we were," admits T.L.T.

Raised in the 9th ward section of New Orleans, the sisters were not in the projects, but were close enough. Everything happening in the projects was also happening on the corners of the 9th ward. Their dad passed away before the Twiinz' 10th birthday, leaving them without a father figure during their formative years.

The Twiinz were always singing and rapping around the house and had dreams becoming recording artists. Salt N Pepa, N.W.A, Scarface and the Geto Boys were some of their early influences in addition to the Aretha Franklin and Anita Baker albums of which their mother was fond. By the time the Twiinz reached junior high, they were learning some of the ghetto's harder lessons. By the time they reached high school, T.L.T. was a single mom, and each twin had come to the conclusion that in order to survive and live, they were going to have to get with a new program. The music would have to remain a dream.

Society has stereotypes about how women are suppose to act and what women are suppose to do. Though this is the case in the ghetto particularly, the Twiinz, like many strong women before them, cast off that stereotypical jacket and proved to themselves and to New Orleans hustlers that they were more than capable of handling the pleasures and pressures of the high stakes and often deadly dope game. Eventually the tables would turn, and the Twiinz' ghetto dream began to look and feel more like a nightmare when they were arrested and jailed. While in jail, the ladies had time to think and focus in on what they really wanted to do. "Despite [what] we've been through, we never stopped making music or writing songs. We even used to do the gong shows they would have in jail," proclaims T.L.T.

Shortly after their release, the Twiinz began working with New Orleans producer/Big Boy Records owner, Leroy "Precise" Edwards. In 1994, they released the first Ghetto Twiinz album, Surrounded By Criminals.

With such a drama laden history, the Twiinz chose reality rap as their genre. "We rap and talk about what was happening in our hood and what we experienced. It's hard for a lot of females to relate to what we are talking about because a lot of them never lived it from our perspective. We chose not to be victims," says T.L.T. "We've seen people murdered. I've even been shot and stabbed."

The first single off In That Water is the message narrative "Responsibility." According to T.L.T., "Women can relate to that song because a lot of them have been and are going through situations where their children's fathers not taking care of the kids or they're being abused by their old man."

"Jealous Hoes" speaks specifically about problems the Twiinz used to have with other females and males while they were hustling, while "Mamma's Hurting" is a true story about a homegirl who was caught up in the game at the wrong place and time and, as a result, she lost her child. "She thought that maybe God took her child to help her get out of the game and get her life straight, but she didn't get her life straight and ended up killing the dude that killed her child. Some people couldn't understand that, but I'd do my time behind my child too," says T.L.T.

"What A Way To Go" is another true story about the Twiinz' homegirl who lost her whole family--including heer mother, her baby and her own life--behind something her boyfriend had done. G.B. remembers, "Some dudes came and killed the whole family. We could have been over there or it could have been us because the same dudes she used to mess with had been welcome at our house before."

Forget about the fabricated rantings of Hollywood styled rappers. In That Water is 14 slices of reality from these Queens of the Bayou, and offers many young ladies the opportunity to learn from the mistakes of two young women who have experienced the highs and lows of hustling. G.B. sums up the Twiinz' mission best, "We try to reach all of our sisters who want to listen because we wouldn't even want our enemies to go through what we have been through."

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