In 2016, TalentDisplay released his EP “Different Place”, which received a great response from listeners and critics alike. In the same TalentDisplay was mentioned on Power 106 and LA Leakers’ Justin Credible and DJ Sourmilk on their social media outlets. He was also ranked “Top 20 Hip-Hop Artists” in Los Angeles on Reverbnation and still holds a top 20 spot today in 2017. Following up on last year’s success, TalentDisplay has now released a brand new album called “The Antagonist” available on Spotify, Apple Music, as well as other digital download outlets, plus on his own website – TalentDisplay.com.
As usual “The Antagonist” is another epic release from TalentDisplay. The album features a host of producers, including DopeBoys, VINAY, StreetEmpire, MadReal, Joey Trife, Kontraband, Dee Willis, ItsGoodBeats, Megidesh and Kid Flash. While the features showcased include 2K West, Ingrid Rayne, Filthy One, Ken Live, Kontious & Sheh. This album turns the flame that the previous release sparked in 2016, into a wildfire, as TalentDisplay tackles the question of those who are in awe of him and make music driven exclusively by ego, while he is just trying to be real. He feels this puts him in the position of being an ‘antagonist’ in the game.
Listening to the 12 tracks here, it quickly becomes clear that TalentDisplay at this point is undeniably the most gritty, real, and hottest rapper in the underground game. This album is an absolute must own for not only “DISPLAYERS” (the name given to TalentDisplay aficionados), but fans of Rap or Hip Hop in general. You certainly can’t fault TalentDisplay for his work ethic. He just keeps pumping out his creativity, giving fans more of exactly what they want – superb beats, impeccable storytelling, a smooth as butter flow and tons of melodic hooks to sing-along to.
Being a skilled rapper is not a requirement to become successful in rap. As sad as that may sound, it’s true. All you really need is hype. But once you lay your ears on the first few tracks on this album, like the melodic “The Antagonist”, and the slow-burners “Nope” and “High & Low”, it hits home that everything here is spectacular in every sense of the world – from the beats to the lyrics –hence hype is the last thing TalentDisplay needs to certify his craft.
Most rappers just bring in a collaborator to add one verse to their songs as an excuse for variety. TalentDisplay uses his collaborators to actually add something original to his songs, something that will add an extra dimension to the track. This is what happens with 2K West & Filthy One on “Rich Or Poor”, or Ken Live & Kontious on “Take Em Back”, Ingrid Rayne on “Somehow I Keep Going”, and Sheh on the bonus track “Automatic (Remix)”. This is an intelligent production ethic by an intelligent rapper who knows how to work around his beats and features. So besides rapping excellently, he places the focus on the moods and atmospheres of his songs, which are bought full circle with the help of features.
On “The Antagonist”, the music flows perfectly, with no redundancy. This is an excellent trait, and something more hip-hop albums should feature. All in all this is one fantastic piece of work from TalentDisplay!
- You just came off the EP “Different Place” and went straight into “The Antagonist”. What inspired you this time around, and what is the overall theme of the album?
TalentDisplay: I am constantly doing music or involved with the music scene and around it. I received such a great response with my last EP “Different Place” that I just wanted to keep it going, to keep pushing. I think that is where the inspiration and drive force came off of. I’m going to release more and more and more music, like Future and Gucci do (laughs).
The theme of “The Antagonist” album is explained on the title track of the project, the second song. I noticed the lack of support from those around me in this music game and I couldn’t understand it, I kept asking myself, “Why are they not showing me the same type of love I show them?” then, I realized why, because I’m “Coca-Cola” when they’re “RC Cola” I am “Gucci” when they’re downtown’s “buy 3 shirts for 10” and given that they make music while driven by ego, they perceive me as the bad guy, the antagonist. I don’t like it, but it is what it is.
Shoutout to my DiSPLAYERS for showing me love and truly enjoying my work, it’s a big drive force.
- You again have a whopping number of producers on this album. I think there are 11 in total. Have you ever thought of doing an entire album with maybe only one or two producers?
TalentDisplay: Oh, most definitely. I am actually in talks with a few producers on doing a project where the entire canvas is theirs. One in particular is a producer from overseas named “Shurpi”. Shurpi made a remix to my song “Even At Your Best” which was received very well. I also have to give a shoutout to Elan Morrisson, who in my opinion is one of the best in this music game, second to none. I would love to do a whole project with him.
- How long did you take to complete this album from its day of conception?
TalentDisplay: about 3 months with recording and everything.
- Out of the bunch do you have a personal favorite track or tracks, and why?
TalentDisplay: “Go Ham” may be my favorite right now, but it keeps changing. I let out a range of emotions and stay pretty diverse throughout the project. That’s because I try to cater to different moods and different experiences. I always want the listener to relate in one way or another.
- I see you currently have “The Antagonist” set as a free download on Bandcamp. After all the creative and production work put into the recording, why are you giving it away for free ?
TalentDisplay: It’s like a chef working hard to perfect a recipe only to give out tastes. Should they like the meal, they’ll support. I took a page out of Radiohead’s promos for one of their albums; there is “an option to buy” the project which I am grateful for because it’s been used many times by my DiSPLAYERS, those supporting me.
- In general, what are your thoughts on Spotify and all the streaming sites?
TalentDisplay: Streaming has gone up 76% since last year. I believe streaming is here to stay for a while. I believe a limited amount of streams should be allowed, but one can always torrent or find a way to get the project for free. It goes back to “giving a taste” if the audience likes the work, and the tasting is the stream, I believe they will go out and support it.
- Birdman told Billboard in January that Lil Wayne‘s Tha Carter V will release this year. In the meantime Wayne is talking to Jay-Z, but the album is still not forthcoming. What’s your take on how this situation is being handled by the respective artists and companies?
TalentDisplay: If you told me that Wayne and Birdman would be beefing 5-6 years ago, I’d put my car up against that claim. It’s unfortunate that this is occurring because at the end of the day. Wayne had a huge role in Cash Money’s success. I think this should be resolved as soon as possible and Free C5 should just happen while Wayne getting all he deserves and Birdman collecting where he deserves off it also. Weezy’s dope, hope the situation is resolved and he goes back to pumping out music at the high rate he used to. I know dealing with legal stuff is taking a toll on the creative process, no doubt.
- Kendrick Lamar has been on the roll with his recent releases. Rolling Stone described his latest album “Damn” as a combination of “the old school and the next-level.” What are your thoughts on the K-Dot evolution?
TalentDisplay: He got me and everyone in the West Coast saying “DAMN.” that’s for sure (laughs) I love how he incorporated lyricism and crispy sounds. The energy is very high and I got ELEMENT. on repeat. Gotta give credit to Interscope, TDE, and their marketing teams. I think he’s already platinum in less than a month.
- Last month, Kanye West dropped his new Calabasas collection for kids online, and it sold out within minutes. The offering of sweats, socks, hats, and sneakers was more or less West’s official foray into streetwear. What are your thoughts on building a brand rather than just making music?
TalentDisplay: I went to CHS, shoutout to my Coyotes! I think branding where it always is. Branding is key, especially given today’s social media and needing to have an influential presence. Kanye’s best is when he’s focused on making music, especially before Yeezus, and after making Pablo. I thought Yeezy was rushed.
- DMX has reportedly admitted himself into a rehab facility, following the cancelation of several of his shows due to an unspecified medical issue? Are the pressures getting too high in the industry now?
TalentDisplay: Let’s be real, DMX is an addict. He’s battling addictions that he may have been introduced to while in the music game, but it sucks, I hate it. I hate seeing DMX, one of my favorite artists all time being in this position and not in a Busta or Jay Z position. If you disagree that DMX is one of the best ever, then let me say this, “Had DMX stopped putting out music after his first 2 albums in ’98, we’d be talking about him in “Top 5” debates, which we should anyways! DMX is one of my favorites and I hope he bounces all the way back to the top and takes care of himself.
- Why do you call your fans “DiSPLAYERS”?
TalentDisplay: Well, that’s because they “display” love, they “display” support” they’re my DiSPLAYERS and I hope they love what I “display” back.
- If you were to sign to a major, who would you aim to be rocking with?
TalentDisplay: Gotta say “Jay” and RocNation man. Jay’s in my top 5 overall careers in the game, period! Maybe the best one. Everything about him, the way he moves, I just love it all. I would get to work right away. Either Jay or the obvious choice, the GOAT, the ICON, Eminem.
- Is there a particular artist whose energy you like right now?
TalentDisplay: Man, A$AP Ferg, I love that dude’s energy! That “East Coast” joint bangs! I also like that new French Montana song “Unforgettable”, the hook is infectious!
- What do you dislike most about the music game?
TalentDisplay: Well, I hate that Funk Flex is talking all this shit about Tupac, I hate it. I hate that a “Slut Walk” by a thot like Amber Rose is being promoted to the kids of tomorrow. I hate that Rap used to be going hard and now it’s all about going on a sensitive rant such as Wale does all the time. I get that “shock value” is a must for generating a solid buzz but c’mon! Let the buzz come off acts such as the one Chance The Rapper did when he donated 7 figures to promote education. That would be an awesome shift I feel, to generate buzz off “Hot Value” the “Shock Value” that got you saying “Man, that’s awesome!”
- What can we expect next?
TalentDisplay: Time will tell (laughs). I hope to link back up with SHI 360 on some music and I am trying to get a collaborated EP made for a specific demographic overseas with my fam ToB who is one of the dopest rappers ever. Maybe a few more projects and just keep going at it. Thank you for having me -TalentDisplay.