Ever since photos of Justin Bieber smoking what appeared to be marijuana emerged on January 4, one name keeps coming up as his bad influence: his best friend, Lil Twist.
The 19-year-old rapper is the same person who was behind the wheel of the singer’s Ferrari on January 1 when a paparazzo was struck by a car and killed while trying to snap a photo of what he thought was Bieber being pulled over by police on a Los Angeles freeway.
Lil Twist, a native of Dallas, and Bieber have been friends for years, but only recently have people begun to question his impact on the “Beauty and the Beat” singer. After all, Lil Twist – whose Twitter profile photo is of him smoking, um, something – reportedly rolled the blunts that 18-year-old Bieber and his friends were smoking in a Newport Beach, California, hotel room on January 2. According to TMZ, those in Bieber’s camp are “deeply concerned that Twist has become a powerful negative influence in his life and feel very strongly Justin needs a clean break from the rapper or else bad things are going to happen.”
So who is this Lil Twist who has supposedly been making big trouble for Bieber?
He’s Lil Wayne’s Protégé
With a name like Lil Twist, it makes perfect sense that he’s working under Lil Wayne, who signed the youngster to his Young Money Records after he opened for him in 2007. But six years later, the artist (born: Christopher Moore) still has not released a full-length album. However, he has put out a number of mix tapes that seem to be popular with teeny-boppers … which he likely has Bieber to thank for. His debut, Don’t Get It Twisted, is slated to be released in the spring. The first single, “Do What I Want,” features 2 Chainz.
He’s Covered in Tattoos
Besides their shared love of partying (and wearing pants with baggy crotches), Lil Twist and Bieber also have a thing for tattoos … and lots of them! As we know, the singer has many, including the two he got in the past month alone, but he has nowhere near as many as his BFF. Lil Twist got his first in May 2009 – when he was 16! – with his boss Lil Wayne standing by. In a video posted online, the scrawny teen is seen nervously fidgeting in a chair just before the tattoo artist takes the needle to his skin. “Breathe, you just gotta breathe,” Lil Wayne tells Twist, before teasing him for clutching a small toy for comfort. “Pain is a part of life you have to go through … that’s something you’re learning about yourself.” Nearly four years later, Twist’s arms are practically covered: graffiti-style “Hip Hop” is scrawled on a brick wall on his left forearm, while his right has a huge cross and the words “Believe,” just like the one Bieber has. Twist also has the Young Money logo inked on the back of his neck.
He’s Dated a Teen Star – Just Like Bieber
Bieber and Lil Twist also seem to have a thing for teen starlets. Just like Bieber and former Disney queen Selena Gomez, the rapper reportedly had a two-year relationship with Keke Palmer, the star of Nickelodeon’s “True Jackson, VP,” until 2010, although not much is known about the romance. Since 2011, he’s been linked to actress Paige Hurd, who was on “Everybody Hates Chris” for three seasons.
He’s Big on Social Media
He may not have quite as many Twitter followers as Bieber – who has a staggering 32 million – but Twist’s footprint on the micro-blogging site is pretty impressive with nearly 1.2 million followers, over 3 million likes on Facebook, and nearly 400,000 followers on Instagram. Those who are a fan of the rapper on Twitter are treated to re-tweets of fans telling him how much they love him (mostly Bieber fans) as well as boasting about his lavish trips, most recently to Mexico with Bieber. His Instagram is similar: On December 27, he posted a photo of his Louis Vuitton luggage as he jetted off to the West Coast. A week earlier, he uploaded a shot as he drove a Ferrari … presumably the same one Bieber often lets him borrow. He also posts many behind-the-scenes shots of his life as Bieber’s BFF, including one from New Year’s Eve of him pouring them both a glass of champagne, along with the hashtag #YoungRichGang.
He Appeared in Bieber’s “Baby” Video
Lil Twist may not have much of a music career himself, but he’s done a good job of piggy-backing off Bieber. He made a blink-and-you-missed-it cameo in the singer’s 2010 video for “Baby” playing one of the Biebs’ friends (including Drake!) who watch him try not to strike out with a pretty girl while bowling.
Lil Twist’s rep did not respond to a request from “omg!” for comment on the controversy involving Bieber.