Meet Twynn: The LGBTQ duo Behind “HOETALE”


AllHipHop spoke with Ayanna and Shardae in downtown Los Angeles, who flew across the country from their hometown to meet the who’s who of the industry. Read below as we discuss how “HOETALE” came to be. 

“HOETALE” by Twynn might just be the new anthem for this coming summer. Twynn is a musical duo composed of Shardae DéVine and Ayanna Ife, the latter of whom is visually impaired but incredibly talented. In fact, thanks to the virality of “HOETALE,” Ayanna has since doubled her followers on TikTok, inspired her to return back to her first love: music.

The song itself has accumulated over 27K remakes in just one month, with celebrities such as Latto, Lala Milan, and Erica Kane all making videos to the song on TikTok. The song also marks the beginning of Twynn, inspired by the fact that they both call each other their twin — especially when it comes to the music.

Both hailing from Philadelphia, Ayanna and Shardae are LGBTQ recording artists who have been in music damn near their entire lives. Now that they have their buzz going, they’re ready to drop bangers all year long. 

Speaking on their unreleased music, Ayanna states, “I want you to be prepared for a vibe. Be prepared for a party vibe. We’re like Kid ‘n Play, but in the 21st century.”

AllHipHop spoke with Ayanna and Shardae in downtown Los Angeles, who flew across the country from their hometown to meet the who’s who of the industry. Read below as we discuss how “HOETALE” came to be. 

AllHipHop: For those who don’t know, who is Twynn? 

Shardae: Go ahead, I think you got that one. 

Ayanna: It wasn’t prophesized, but it’s interesting how this whole thing came to be. Our moms are creative because they’re hairstylists. When we were kids, they worked at the same shop. They were this dynamic duo of Philly, the hot girls in Philly. We’re little kids, we always got dragged to all of the house parties. Little women’s parties they like to have, the empowerment things. They’d always drag us there, and it was always lit! It was so much fun. When we became teenagers, Me and Shardae didn’t really hang out. She had her own things going on, I had my own things going on. We connected because I wanted to shape up, and she’s a barber and a hairstylist. She did my locs too.

Shardae: [laughs] Yup.

Ayanna: Hey Shardae, can I get a shape up? She’s like, “Can I get a song?” I’m like, you know I’m in retirement. I put down the mic, I never was ever going to do this ever again. 

AllHipHop: Why? 

Ayanna: Because it didn’t go anywhere. I was tired of investing all my money and my time, then and it not working. But my TikTok was already poppin’ by this point, so it’s nothing wrong with giving it a try. At least I have more of an audience by this point. We did this song called “HOETALE.” One day, we woke up in the morning. Got up really early and tried to record it at the studio. The engineer did not like us. I don’t think it’s anything personal, but all I’m saying is he didn’t want to mix it. It was the laziest mix I’ve ever heard. Dude, I could put you on my TikTok and let them know you mixed this. I was trying to help him. He didn’t believe me, he thought I was a nobody, trying to make a corny song. 

Shardae: We did it three different times. 

Ayanna: We ended up going to MilkBoy, which is the most acknowledged studio in Philly right now. That’s where everyone goes, and that’s the one we ended up using. After we made “HOETALE,” we’re like yo, we really be on some twin type times. Especially when it comes to how we be vibing with the girls. We’re both studs, we both love to party. We have a good time. She didn’t know I’d love this, but her first thing to me after I asked for the shape up, she said “I want to do a freaky girl song.” That’s definitely my twin! You really know where I’m at with it. All we’ve made, the whole catalog is full of summertime freaky girl songs. And we love it. [laughs]

AllHipHop: Is there any significance in the spelling of the name?

Shardae: Definitely, I came up with it. She’s the one who sent me the beat, I got this vibe of summertime. Fun time. When I went to go spell it, because we already had the anthem part of it. It was done, but when we went to go pick the name of the song, it can’t just say regular hotel. A bunch of other people named their songs that. When I thought about a hoe and her stories, oh let’s put it together. A HOETALE.

Ayanna: To be honest, I’m like okay… 

Shardae: She didn’t like it at first.

Ayanna: Now, it’s the most brilliant thing. It’s so double entendre. It’s really killing me, I love it.

AllHipHop: Did “HOETALE” pop off because of TikTok?

Both: Yes. 

Shardae: We went to the abandoned train tracks up the street from my house in Philly.

Ayanna: We thought it was abandoned! Nearly got hit by a train, but that’s for another time. That’s where we shot the little home video. We climbed the grass to get to the top of the train tracks.

Shardae: With the dog.

Ayanna: With my service dog, we’re throwing the dog over the gate. We can make this happen, we just want to try. Because we didn’t think it would go big at all. We need to put something out to rap it to, to use it as a sound. Some kind of visual. We were up there, playing around, rapping on the train tracks. It went crazy, now it’s at sixteen million views. It went berserk. It wasn’t even a real official video. When that happened, everyone started using the sound. Latto made a video to the sound, so many wild things. All influential TikTokers have used the sound, it’s amazing.

AllHipHop: Organically too! People pay for that.

Ayanna: Forreal? They be paying for it? That’s crazy, because I’ve never even paid for a viewer or follower. I get this organically, so how much would it cost to get a big boost? What they’re offering for money, it’s something I was already getting organically. Wow, how the hell did my TikTok blow up like this?

AllHipHop: How did your TikTok blow up? Was there a certain thing that went viral?

Ayanna: Yes, oh my God. I don’t know if Shar knows the first first, because they took that account down a long time ago. The first thing that ever made me go viral, I was bored. I was sitting on my couch like, “if I’m strapping you down, giving it to you good. And you calling me daddy, you mine now. We married now.” It went crazy. They’re like “oh, she can’t even see!” I started defending myself on TikTok, so I’m the clapback king right now. That’s how I got started. It wasn’t new to me when Twynn started to get into picture, people stopping me on the street. But now, they know me for something else.

Shardae: You gotta think about it, when she was doing her clapbacks, her account was at 400K. Now, it’s at 700K. She gained all those followers just from putting “HOETALE” out.

AllHipHop: When did “HOETALE” come out? 

Ayanna: April 12th.

Shardae: A month ago. [laughs] Her s### went even more crazy after that, doubled the followers. That’s insane.

Ayanna: That is scary. When we got to eight million views, okay so something about this song is resonating with the collective youth. It’s something super relatable. 

Shardae: With the world.

AllHipHop: I saw Lala Milan make a TikTok, that’s my girl. 

Ayanna: Oh she did? I like Erica Kane. She’s a super big influencer. I was so happy when my favorite influencers were using the sound. I’m waiting for Kehlani to use it. We follow each other on there, I’m hoping that one day… I know deep in her heart, she wants to do it. Because she’s very open about being queer, as we are. This would be crazy, and since we follow each other… 

AllHipHop: Do they have DMs on TikTok?

Ayanna: Yeah, I’ve been too afraid.

Shardae: Her s### be flooded, she can’t even get to them all. It be so many.

Ayanna: It was a lot. Keke Palmer, and I didn’t know for days. I had to send her a message: “Keke, I really appreciate you showing me all of this love.” It’s insane. I don’t know what’s going on, but I was a random massage therapist. Now, I’m a part of a rap duo. A nuanced rap duo, where you’ve never seen two studs in a group. It’s niche. 

Shardae: For the most part when you look at it, a lot of studs don’t like studs. They don’t get along in our community. But when you see us, and we can get along, it gives everybody else the same type of view. Damn, you can like somebody who’s like you and not feel jealous or envious. 

Ayanna: We’re like brothers. We’re studs, but we have a song about getting our nails done. We’re not afraid to show femininity or do feminine things, because it’s fun. Super fun.

AllHipHop: How long have you guys been doing music? Talk about your love for music.

Ayanna: Oh gosh, respectively both 15 years. Not together.

Shardae: Yup, we just started doing it together in April.

Ayanna: I’ve been doing it since I was 14. I used to be a bored kid, I didn’t have anything else to do. I used to make music and someone told my mom that it was good. She’s like “wait, what? We’re gon’ try to take this thing to the top!” She went straight Joe Jackson in my youth, tried to take it to the top. But it got exhausting. Sometimes people don’t have loyalty when they’re doing music, they will try to backdoor you or manipulate you in some way. It’s overwhelming. I love being creative. I love doing things that are creative, but maybe not this. TikTok came back and I found a new outlet, it led me back.

Shardae: She’s the one who inspired me to do music. Because she’s a year or two older than me. When we were growing up, I saw her doing it. I went to high school with him [points to friend, CurtDaRula], he was working on his producing. He’s like “come on. You want to do it, let’s do it.” He forced me to get in the studio, that’s how I started. I was on Vine back in the day, dancing all the time. I was doing music in the background. Now, everything’s coming in full circle. So for all of us to be together now, it’s kinda creepy. 

AllHipHop: Do you guys have favorite artists?

Ayanna: Yes, Kehlani. The music, first of all it’s always been queer. She’s always been bi. But when Kehlani came out as non-binary and really embraced: I’m a lesbian, and started making songs about — already a dope writer. Already can sing, the vocals are unmatched. You add in that she’s queer, using she/they pronouns. You’re everything I’d want in an artist: gay, talented. Frank Ocean and Kehlani are definitely my favorites.

AllHipHop: Does that mean you make R&B too? 

Shardae: See, I’m getting her into that. 

Ayanna: This one is an amazing singer. She sounds like Omarion when she sings, she can sing forreal.

Shardae: A little bit. [laughs] I love Drake, because we got the same birthday. A day apart. Beyonce, those are my two alter egos. Sasha Fierce, then Lover Boy.

Ayanna: I love Drake. Drake’s lyricism inspires a lot of how I write. If you listen to me, you’d be like okay, she’s probably inspired by Drake. 

Shardae: Which one though? Which one of his bangers?

Ayanna: Probably not “nice for what to these…” All the songs he talks about loving strippers, being vulnerable and giving up his money. I understand him on a loving lesbian level. Drake and I are both lesbians. On that level, we relate.

AllHipHop: What’s your writing process in the studio?

Ayanna: Oh gosh.

Shardae: Can I explain yours? It’s so awesome, because the first time I saw it, I didn’t believe it. You know she suffers from her visual impairment, we not gon’ make that a thing. When she goes in and she can’t write anything down and read it, she has to navigate through the sound. She’ll put the earphones on. She’ll go in and stutter her way through until she finds her words. Once she found her words, it just comes out. Literally what you hear versus how it comes out is not the same at all. To see the process is f###### amazing, it gives me goosebumps all the time. 

AllHipHop: So you basically freestyle?

Ayanna: Yeah, I basically freestyle. What I try to do with my writing, a lot of lines in “HOETALE” could be trending sounds. “Err-err,” things I know people can relate to. I like to give people something to chant. “This is a just a HOETALE!” Something for people to chant that’s a bit taboo. Chant taboo things. I’m an Aquarius, I like going against the grain. If you’re going to shout some radical s###, let’s shout this out to radical s###. “Your ass real but this dick not.” Be bold.

Shardae: I’m more chill. No real process for me, I just go with the flow. Feed off the energy.

AllHipHop: Were you born with the visual impairment?

Ayanna: I was. It’s called Leber’s congenital amaurosis. It affects the rods and cones, which control light, detail, depth, perception, all of that. It also causes nystagmus, which is involuntary eye roving. So yeah, whole life.