Say Hello to the City Kids: Moosh & Twist, Philly’s Next Hip-Hop Heroes.
Oliver “Twist” Feighan runs across Walnut Street unconcerned with the traffic lights and oblivious to the cars that just miss him. He takes off his hat right before the wind steals it from his shaggy, brown hair. With his hands up in the air, he seems so carefree. He is young and he feels invincible.
He directs his big brown eyes at his partner, DeQuincy “Moosh” Coleman-McRae, who stands patiently on the sidewalk, waiting for the right time to make a move. Reserved and modest, Moosh keeps a steady pace, aware yet undaunted by the bustle of the city. A gray beanie resting atop his head, Moosh laughs in harmony with Twist before meeting him on the other side of the street.
The duo, both 19, may seem like opposites at times but they’re perfectly in sync, antsy for their future and prepared to take over the world with their beats.
After meeting in the first grade at The Philadelphia School, near Fitler Square, they started exploring their musical talents together. By eighth grade, they had recorded their first hip-hop song. Feighan and Coleman-McRae became OCD: Moosh and Twist during high school.
The name came natural to them. Feighan, taking a cue from the novel Oliver Twist, adopted Twist as his new identity while Coleman-McRae made use of his childhood nickname, Moosh. Considering the pair’s obsession with all things music, paired with their relentless goal to make their own sounds perfect, OCD just fit.
By the time they graduated from high school, they had put out their first mixtape, Up Before The World.
They’ve been going non-stop ever since.
They have more than one million views on their music video for the Journey-sampling hit “City Kids.” They have shows booked all over the country. Their third mixtape, The Vestibule, brought Moosh and Twist national attention, transforming them from regular kids in high school to full-time musicians.
“We’re running a business right now,” Moosh says, taking a second to look up from his cell phone. “We realize that more than before. In high school, we were spitting, making music. But now, we’re CEOs of our own business.”
Moosh starts to pull on the glass door at UBIQ, the sneaker shop on Walnut Street – one of the locations in the “City Kids” video, and says, “You know we got to get some free stuff.”
When the duo walks in, it seems as though they know everyone, and everyone wants to know them. Twist flirts effortlessly with a salesgirl as Moosh’s eyes light up over every colorful pair of sneakers he can get his hands on.
Leaning over a display table, they act as though they’re the stars of their own reality TV show, broadcasting their conversations for customers to hear and often times speaking in unison. Surrounded by brightly lit racks of shoes, they take a seat on a pair of oversized chairs next to a fireplace in the back room of the shop. The two look like they own the place but no one seems to mind. Moosh and Twist check their emails while simultaneously talking to one another about the upcoming promoting they have to do, shows they must prepare for and people they need to meet.
“We just want to play music,” Twist proclaims, bored of his cell phone and ready for the next adventure.
The two work hard, putting in long hours in the recording studio, steadily producing new material. They write their own verses, oftentimes pulling inspiration from one another. Whether their songs deal with family troubles, relationships or memories of high school, they make it a point to keep their material personal.
“One thing that people are attracted to is the fact that it’s just real,” the loquacious Twist says of their music. “We aren’t super partiers. We don’t do drugs and all that stuff. We just talk about what we know and we think people like to listen because they can relate to it.”
Even for those who don’t regularly listen to hip-hop, Moosh and Twist’s music is approachable. They offer their own spin on the sound, rhyming over danceable, poppy beats. Twist has a surprisingly gruff voice and both vary the pace of their flow, infusing songs with bursts of energy. They keep their lyrics and performances fun, energetic and positive.
“We want the music to speak for itself,” Moosh explains. “We want people to get through situations to our music. I want people to fight to our music. I want people to laugh to our music. I want people to have fun to our music, to have sex to our music, anything. It’s music. Embrace it.”
Their Philly fans seem to appreciate the pair’s attitude. The day they released their latest mixtape in January, Moosh and Twist headlined their first big show at the TLA. There was a line wrapped around the corner with people waiting to get in.
The TLA show was a true turning point for them. After a few years of playing smaller venues for fifty people or fewer, or being part of the opening act, they were now headliners. They were Moosh and Twist, the real thing, with fans anxious to get a taste of their sound.
“It was dope because we’ve been seeing shows there since we were kids,” Moosh says. “And we opened up for cats there but it’s a different thing when you’re headlining.”
Twist saw one of his favorite groups, Chiddy Bang, perform at the TLA a few years prior.
“I was there screaming and jumping,” Twist explains. “And three years later, we had kids screaming and jumping for us. That’s all I need in life.”
Team OCD is used to exploring Philly. It’s where both grew up and it’s the place they know best (even though Moosh’s family relocated to the burbs, and he went to Haverford High). From spending all day playing at local basketball courts to hanging out at Rittenhouse Square, they see the entire city as home. And despite the numerous places they’ve toured and their plans to move wherever their music takes them, Moosh and Twist never fail to take the city with them.
“Philly taught us a lot,” Twist says. “It teaches you to hold your own. You kind of have to have a level of confidence.”
“Philly’s everywhere we go,” Moosh clarifies. “Even if we’re out in California or New York, we bring Philly there. Now that’s Philly.”
Team OCD also appreciates the music Philly has to offer. They both look up to Meek Mill as the city’s ultimate rapper and they gain insight from the sounds of Jill Scott, Beanie Sigel and their all-time favorite, The Roots. Last summer, they performed inside the side tent at The Roots Picnic, a memorable day when they got to meet their hometown heroes, as well as Nas, Wiz Khalifa, Mac Miller and Yelawolf.
“We were backstage with a bunch of cats who we looked up to, and it kind of felt like for a day, everybody was on the same level,” Moosh says.
They performed in front of thousands of screaming fans and basked in the warmth of the hip-hop family-like setting.
“There was a basketball court, and Wiz Khalifa might be shooting with an 8-year old who was there,” Twist describes. “It’s a music day. Everyone’s there for one reason.”
Moosh and Twist will be back at the Picnic this year, seasoned after a year of touring the United States and Canada, and boasting fresh material.
The boys hang outside on the corner near Pine Street Pizza, a regular haunt. It’s early in their day and they still have no definite plans other than venturing through the neighborhood and hanging out at the recording studio later.
“There is no typical day because we travel a lot for shows,” Twist says while fixing his mussed hair, a product of the strong wind (and from waking up in mid-afternoon and rushing to meet Moosh). “We don’t have a set schedule, which is part of the reason why we like doing what we do.”
Their heads are full of big dreams but they’re focused, anticipating their next steps toward success. They’re psyched up for their 33-city tour across the country this summer with Aer, the reggae/hip-hop duo from Massachusetts. And they have a ton of music they want to record and release. Moosh and Twist have only just begun.
“You guys still spitting?” asks a random pedestrian near the pizza shop.
“You know it,” Twist answers, smiling at Moosh.