By Waysun Johnny Tsai
GROWING UP IN CHICAGO WITH MUSIC, GANGS AND GUNS
I grew up piss-poor with my mother in some of the worst neighborhoods in Chicago. The gangs were so bad where we lived that I got robbed at knifepoint for my elementary school’s M&M fund raising money when I was just eight years old. Our neighborhood was so bad that my Huffy bike that I got for my birthday was stolen the day after I got it.
Indeed, living in the city was rough and we weren’t allowed to go down to the park to play because the gangbangers were always playing basketball on the court. Kids were getting killed on the block. I hung around the house a lot to stay out of trouble and I discovered music.
One day while sneaking around my older brother’s room, I went through his drawer and found a 1984 Run-D.M.C. cassette tape, their first album. There was a song on it called Hard Times and it really spoke to me, so I fell in love with hip-hop. Getting into music kept me off of the street and away from gangs.
Fast-forward to 1992. Two years out of high school and a complete hip-hop head, I discovered an album call Runnin’ Off At Da Mouth by a local Chicago rapper named Twista.
Twista was different than anything I had heard before. He rapped super-fast. So fast, in fact, that he held the record in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s fastest emcee.
Time-warp forward another 29 years. I still love hip-hop and Twista is still making music, but his life has taken on a much different path than just being a platinum-selling recording artist who has released songs with the likes of Jay Z and Mariah Carey. Twista has decided to join a different type of super-group, the gun community, as both a fully active NRA and USCCA firearms instructor. In fact, both of our lives have gone so far into the tactical industry, we have finally crossed paths.
I was first introduced to Twista and his right-hand man Creative Scott earlier this year by a mutual friend named Eddy Tactical, a law enforcement officer and firearms instructor with whom I have been friends for well over a decade. Eddy and I used to set up at local gun-shows next to each other and always stayed in touch.
He decided to bring me down to a range day with Twista and Creative and we all hit it off like old friends. I spent a lot of time just observing. I wanted to know if these guys were just blinged-out rappers shooting guns or actual firearms instructors who would benefit the community.
After being just a fly on the wall and watching them shoot, the answer was that they are absolutely gun guys…legit firearms instructors and all-around cool dudes who want to make a difference in their home town when it comes to firearms training, gun safety and awareness.
The Gun Camp team and I have gotten pretty close and have been discussing working together and doing an interview for some time. This article almost feels like 30 years in the making. So, without further delay, allow me to introduce The Gun Camp; Twista, Creative Scott and Eddy Tactical.
FROM ROCKING STAGES TO ROCKING RANGES
Hi guys, thanks for taking time to for us today. Please introduce yourselves and your role with the Gun Camp.
TWISTA: My name is Carl Mitchell a.k.a. Twista. I am a hip-hop recording artist, USCCA instructor, NRA instructor, and range safety officer. I am a part owner and an instructor at The Gun Camp with Creative Scott.
EDDY TACTICAL: Greetings fellow Gun lovers I’m Eddy Lorenzo aka ET Eddy Tactical aka ODG from the Pew Tang Clan. I’m a certified NRA Law Enforcement pistol and shotgun instructor, Illinois state registered firearms instructor, USCCA firearms instructor, Illinois concealed carry instructor, Utah concealed carry instructor, armed and unarmed security specialist and all-around firearm connoisseur.
CREATIVE SCOTT: My name is Creative Scott; I am both an NRA and USCCA instructor. I am also a training councilor. I am partners with and teach classes at the Gun Camp with Twista.
How long has the Gun Camp Been around? How did you guys hook up?
EDDY TACTICAL: The gun camp is a newly-formed group of individuals that make a collective of some of the best instructors in the business. With that being said we are fairly new, but we are making a lot of noise and you cannot ignore us.
I first met Twist back in 2013 through mutual friends. At that time concealed carry in Illinois was fairly new. Being one of the first 300 certified instructors to teach the CCW course in Illinois it was only natural that we would eventually cross paths.
Once we met and I trained him how to properly shoot, it was game over. Twista showed me a level of dedication and passion that you don’t see very often. Even since then Twista and I would link up occasionally for a range session. It wasn’t until I was introduced to Creative that things really started to get rolling. It was like when Thor, Ironman, and Captain America first met…completely epic.
TWISTA: I met Creative when we were teenagers. We started out doing rap music together. I met Eddy through a friend when I was younger and wanted to get my concealed carry license. Eddy taught me how to shoot and got me my CCW. Creative trained me to become an instructor.
CREATIVE SCOTT: We (the Gun Camp) have been around about two years. T and I have been friends since grammar school and have been down ever since.
Twista, what made you go from rocking stages to rocking ranges?
TWISTA: Creative is one of my oldest friends. He trained me to become an Instructor. He convinced me I could do it. When I got into it, I developed a natural passion for it.
What kind of classes does the Gun Camp teach?
TWISTA: We teach concealed carry classes, advanced firearm classes, verbal de-escalation, physical defense and more.
EDDY TACTICAL: We at the Gun Camp cover everything from firearm safety 101 all the way to dynamic rifle and pistol. We also have members in the martial arts field that fill the role of self-defense instructors. I mean shit, we got you (the author) working on something special just for us!
CREATIVE SCOTT: Beginner and advanced training on all of the above mention by Eddy and Twista. We are also certified CPR instructors.
There aren’t a lot of black firearms instructors around the city of Chicago. What is your mission as instructors?
EDDY TACTICAL: Well, I’m not black, but I’ve been called “Blasian.” I think being a minority really gravitates to a community that is willing to give us more of a chance than your other typical instructors. I mean let’s be real who wouldn’t want to meet Eddy tactical?! We also got Twista and Creative.
Seriously the urban/minority community is the area that really need firearms education and training. That’s where most of the crime happens and the only thing that’s going to stop a bad guy with a gun is a TRAINED good guy with a gun.
TWISTA: Our mission is to teach the importance of exercising our gun rights, gun safety, and being aware, and also educating people in the urban community about firearms, self-protection, and Second Amendment rights.
CREATIVE SCOTT: One of our missions is to teach public safety on firearms. Some of us in the inner city, especially black communities, don’t have a background with gun basics and safety. We want to turn the image of guns in the black community from negative to positive.
What do you guys currently EDC and why?
TWISTA: My current EDC is the GLOCK 43. Because of the size, weight and reliability and the customization that Eddie and Creative got Leo to do on it for me as a birthday gift.
EDDY TACTICAL: Well, you’re talking to the ODG, Ol’ Dirty GLOCK from the Pew Tang Clan. What do you think? Honestly, I rotate between a GLOCK 43X with a Holosun 507k reflex sight and a shadow system MR920 with a Trijicon RMR type2. Why? Because they are GLOCKs, LOL.
CREATIVE: I currently carry a SIG P320.
What is your favorite pistol right now?
EDDY TACTICAL: This is a question that needs more parts, but I think my favorite pistol right now is the Laugo Alien. Why, because there is only 500 of these in the country and I got number 174. It’s actually a crazy design in which the barrel of the firearm is fixed and doesn’t move resulting in great accuracy and reliability. If you haven’t shot one maybe, I’ll let you shoot mine if you sign up for a Gun Camp class.
TWISTA: The CZ platform, specifically the Shadow 2 is the gun I like shooting the most. The weight, the sights and trigger are among the best and it’s one of my favorite platforms. its ergonomics are awesome!
CREATIVE SCOTT: There are so many of them. The AREX Alpha is absolutely my top pick right now.
What is your favorite rifle?
EDDY TACTICAL: Once again, this question needs more parts to it. Like my favorites are the AK, AR and AR10. If I was going to choose one it would have to be my RSS Defense RDMR7 AR-15 rifle.
CREATIVE SCOTT: My favorite rifle is the AR-15.
TWISTA: I like the .556 round and enjoy shooting the AR-15 and learning tactical maneuvers, rapid fire, and long-distance shooting with it as well. Like the GLOCK, it can be turned into a dream firearm specifically suited for your needs.
What is on the Gun Camp’s agenda for 2021-2022?
EDDY TACTICAL: The Gun Camp is making major moves. Just stay tuned because there is a lot of stuff going on. I don’t want to be the Tom Holland (Spiderman) of the Marvel cinematic universe and ruin any surprises. I will say this though…wait until you see Twista in the USPSA!
TWISTA: Our agenda for the Gun Camp this year moving forward is our outdoor range activity, classes in different states, new curriculums. We are working directly with different groups and people to help make things better and safer for the community.
CREATIVE SCOTT: We’re setting up our own facility with an outdoor range and security training company. We are also really excited about the new Gun Camp movie that’s coming out.
What is the first truth about guns that would you share with a new shooter?
TWISTA: First truth that I would share with a new shooter is to always exercise the four universal safety rules. Be aware that the gun by itself is a false sense of security and the only thing that will truly protect you if forced to use it is if you train and practice.
EDDY TACTICAL: Don’t get into this hobby, you’ll go broke LOL!
CREATIVE SCOTT: I would tell them to keep their finger off the trigger until they secured their target. Learn and practice the four universal safety rules. Safety is super-important.
Twista, please tell us that you have new music coming out or maybe a tour?
TWISTA: Yes, yes, and yes. We have music, a tour, a movie in the works and more.
My new project “SHOOTER READY” will be coming in early July of this year.
Thanks again guys, any closing words of wisdom from the Gun Camp?
EDDY: Hell yeah! Pew Tang Clan ain’t nothing to fuck wit! This is ET Eddy Tactical saying stay safe, stay blessed, stay dangerous!
CREATIVE SCOTT: Yes, I would tell all gun owner to be safe, train, don’t be complacent and stay up on and understand all of your local gun laws. I can’t stress training enough, a concealed carry class on its own just isn’t enough.
TWISTA: Find us and train with us, contact us at www.theguncamp.com.
SIDEBAR: THE CHICAGO GUN CULTURE
The positive Chicago gun culture is frequently overshadowed by a large amount of nationally covered gun violence. The truth is, there are a lot more legal, law-abiding gun owners in the city than there are criminals with guns. And thanks to training groups like the Gun Camp, the number of legal gun owners in Chicagoland is growing every day.
Instructors like Twista, Creative Scott and Eddy Tactical are breaking the mold and image of what a lot of people would consider typical firearms instructors. Because of his enormous music industry following, Chicago hip-hop legend Twista is able to use his influence to spearhead the Gun Camp into inner city neighborhoods and areas and introduce several types of firearm safety and training classes to those who would have never ventured out to find it or knew that local training existed.
Twista and his camp are speaking, and these neighborhoods are listening to what he they have to say. Indeed, the Gun Camp is making the streets of their beloved home town safer, one class at a time.
For more information or to book a class please go to: www.theguncamp.com.
All photos courtesy The Gun Camp.