Independent Spotlight is a continuing series on Stewart’s blog. The series revolves around independent artists and bands sending their music to Brett to review. No band is promised a positive review, and all music is reviewed honestly in an effort to better independent music.
In this afternoon’s edition of the Independent Spotlight, we shine our gaze on Talent Display, an indie hip hop artist from Los Angeles who’s recently dropped a new EP. Entitled ‘Different Place,’ the record is an endeavor to combine the Brooklyn rap sound with west coast vibes - thus culminating the performer’s past and present into a cohesive piece of music. Is this an EP worth adding to your collection this summer? How does it stack up against its indie hip hop counterparts? Let’s dig in and find out.
‘Different Place’ begins with its titular song, a pretty personal track that delves into TalentDisplay’s emotional struggles with a relationship and the dark times he’s experienced. The song is surprisingly relatable; TalentDisplay’s jaunt through his turmoil and subsequent rise from the ashes is inspirational and wholly authentic. I love the pop sensibility of the track as well - that’s the west coast aura that TalentDisplay has injected into his sound.
‘Went Around The World’ is an intriguing track in the realm of production. TalentDisplay is employing a varied palette of sonic musings, from tactful auto-tuning to synthesizers and borderline funky beats and riffs. This intense approach feels like a hybrid of Frank Ocean’s soulfulness and Chance the Rapper’s eclecticness. In comparison to many independent hip hop projects, TalentDisplay’s roster of talent is fairly small, making the size of these productions even more impressive.
‘LA Be The City’ is probably the weakest track of the five, at least, lyrically. TalentDisplay moves through lyrical pride for the city he lives in, and peppers that soundscape with plenty of commentary about the city’s women. I think it’s a good track, albeit one that lacks some of the depth of its predecessors. It isn’t nearly as compelling. But, as an artist from Chicago, I understand city pride - it’s good TalentDisplay has it and can write about it.
‘Paris,’ a track featuring a French verse by SHI 360, is one of the more compelling efforts in this small collection. As the name alludes to, it’s about the city of Paris. Unlike ‘LA Be The City,’ however, it’s chock-full of insightful introspection in regard to the recent terror attacks in the French capital. The inclusion of SHI 360 truly completes the song, though I’d love a translation in liner note form to know what exactly he’s rapping.
The album then closes with ‘Another Destination,’ an atmospheric, soulful tune that logs TalentDisplay’s penchant for traveling across the world. (He actually wrote this EP when doing so.) It’s an elegant finale, perhaps even the finest produced track on the album. Everything is perfect in its place on this track - not one note or lyric feels awkward or misplaced.
There is a lot to dig about ‘Different Place.’ It’s an excellent indie hip hop record, one very much worth adding to your collection. There is so much monotony and cliche within this genre’s indie community, so it’s wonderful to see such a fresh, interesting effort like this EP.