Versatile Los Angeles rapper TalentDisplay has a unique approach to hip hop that incorporates the influence of his home town of Brooklyn with the fresh sounds of his current west coast surroundings. TalentDisplay blasted on to the music scene in 2006 with his self-titled multi-lingual single. Since then, he has worked with superstar artists Fredro Starr and Ca$his, collaborated on pop, rap and R&B tracks while working at Paramount and has released several critically acclaimed solo projects. The latest being “THE ILLUSION OF BALANCE” in memory of Tom Allison.
- When did you decide to release the EP “The Illusion Of Balance” and when did you start work on it?
TalentDisplay: I started working on it earlier in the same month I released it, June 2018. I wrote a song about my dear friend Tom Allison, who passed away. It started with the song “Heavy Heart” and grew from there. I felt I needed to, to let it out.
- Why the title “The Illusion Of Balance”? Tell us something about the concept behind the recording?
TalentDisplay: Because, sometimes in one way, we may show a smile and happiness, but hide the other side of it which is ironically keeping us balanced. My dear friend passes, days later I find out my girl is dealing with cancer, and then shortly after, I was in a scenario where I had to show these emotions that completely misdirected where I truly was at, and somehow, it kept me balanced. Like, I told myself, “take it a step at a time and handle. That’s all you could do” you know? The Illusion Of Balance is real.
- This time around, you’re working with only one producer, why that choice?
TalentDisplay: Honestly? It was because of you. If you recall, you had asked me in a previous interview why I never used one producer for a project. The first song I recorded for TIOB was a tribute to my friend who passed, and since I really like the producer’s sound, I went ahead and made the whole EP with his production. You played a role in me leaning toward only using one, and I appreciate it. Very cohesive.
- How did you link up with TellingBeatzz, and what is it you liked best about his beats and sound?
TalentDisplay: I’ve been scheming through his catalog for a while. I’ve used his production in years passed and really enjoy how musical his beats are. I love the kits and twang with the sound sometimes. I like the liveliness I feel the instrumentals hold.
- Is it just the two of you working on this EP, or are there any other people behind the scenes that you’d like to mention?
TalentDisplay: Of course. One of my closest friends Heath Ripplinger (of Ripshore Studios). Heath is not only an amazing engineer, he’s an amazing person and I love when we get in the studio and do what we do. I have been very fortunate to have worked with him on hundreds of my songs. One of the best engineers and drummer in the music industry out here in LA. Heath is immensely talented with one of the best ears ever. That’s pretty much the only one with me in the stu.
- Did you once again write all the lyrical material on “The Illusion Of Balance”?
TalentDisplay: Yes, I wrote everything. Only thing “Ghost” for me is when I leave a scene, maybe a Rolls Phantom (laughs).
- Which of the songs on EP do you think came out best, and just as you intended before recording them?
TalentDisplay: Great question, and a tough one. I’d say most likely, “Demons Move In”
- Have you released as single from the collection yet? And if not, is this something you will be doing?
TalentDisplay: Haven’t really released a single for it. I am contemplating on maybe putting one of the songs out with a bit more focus and some more promotion almost as a single. I’ve released an EP “Workflow” earlier this year, so I still my put some single promo on one of the songs off there still. Though my latest EP TIOB is available on all platforms, it’s very much a personal project for me. I got to give that a serious consideration, turn a lot of my focus to one of the songs off there, could be pretty cool.
- Here is a question I always like asking you. Is there any one particular track that holds a bigger place in your heart than the others, and why?
TalentDisplay: The irony… it is most definitely the song “Heavy Heart”. The tribute to my friend, which is a song I go back to all the time when I think about Tom. I love and miss that man dearly. He was the best. Rest Easy Tom.
- Which was technically the most difficult song of the bunch to record and capture just the way you wanted it?
TalentDisplay: I have to go ahead and say “Heavy Heart” once again, My voice kept cracking, I was teary eyed and choked at times, very tough. Thankfully I had my dude Heath there with his mixing skills as well as the patience, good sense of humor and sarcastic shit-talking combo (laughs).
- Listening to the songs now. Do you ever get the feeling to want to go back and do something differently? Or do you think they came out just as you wanted, and you wouldn’t change anything about them anymore?
TalentDisplay: Only thing I wish I could change would be to have been working with Heath even earlier than I have. I have no regrets about doing things differently with the music. If I don’t like how something came out, we’ll fix it and then put it out.
- For anyone who has not yet heard “The Illusion Of Balance”, which keywords would you use to describe it to them?
TalentDisplay: Transparent, Sincere, Relatable, Deep.
- Will you be working on any videos to promote the songs on “The Illusion Of Balance”?
TalentDisplay: I am thinking about making a video for one of the songs very soon, yea.
- Would you regard “The Illusion Of Balance” as your best work yet? And if so why?
TalentDisplay: My projects are all different and I don’t know if it’s the best work yet. Maybe because I feel like my catalog since 09 is the best catalog yet, and I’m constantly pushing the envelope.
- You’ve now done a whole lot of EP releases, as well as albums. I know it’s pretty much against market trends, but do you ever get the urge to do a concept double album? In recent times we’ve seen Big Krit and Kendrick Lamar going down this road with both huge critical and commercial success, while we’ve also seen a whole lot of others fail miserably. What are your thoughts on this format?
TalentDisplay: I would definitely do a double album too. I love just rolling with the punches. I don’t do market trends. I made an album before called “Keep Pushing No Matter What”, it was kind of a double album but I presented it as one. It was supposed to be “Keep Pushing” & “No Matter What”. There’s actually a title track for each one of those including all the songs, but as one. It’s available to stream and download at KPNMW.com