Before this week’s Indie Pick of the Week, Torrian Ball ever thought of pursuing a career in music as a rapper he had the support of one of Chicago’s OG rappers: Twista, who he met at the ‘Chicago Legends Tour’ in 2004.
Ball was 14-years-old at the time, not even old enough to get into a concert without the accompaniment of his mother.
At the concert there was a contest where anybody in the crowd could go up on stage and kick a freestyle. The winner was chosen by the crowd and given the opportunity to meet Twista backstage.
Considering he grew up emulating Twista’s chopper style of rapping, this was a big deal for Ball and his Illinois bloodline.
“I used to rap just like Twista, that’s where my major influence come from,” Ball said. “I grew up on the Twistas, Do Or Dies era—the whole fast rap era with the Common and the Kanye West, all of that is where I got my inspirations from because I got to see it all evolve.”
He recalls the night he met Twista, where he won the contest in a landslide and was given the opportunity to go backstage.
After the show backstage, Twista pulled Torrian’s mother aside to express his admiration for the young rapper and invite him to go on the rest of the tour with him. Ball’s mother was a huge supporter of her son and granted permission for him to hit the road.
On the tour, a young Torrian would hit the stage in each city they resided to cover one of Twista’s hits at the time. Throughout the tour Ball continued to build a solid bond with the established Chicago rapper.
He maintained the relationship with Twista after the tour and would occasionally hang at the studio to soak up game. At the studio he also learned how the whole music-making process went down and became “the little kid they would send into the store to go get pops and shit.”
“That’s really how I got my feet wet,” he said. “I was in the studio with him [Twista], when him and Kanye were working on “Overnight Celebrity,” “Slow Jamz,” I got to be behind the scenes when they were working on that, doing all the fine tweaks.”
Seeing Chicago heavyweights like Kanye and Twista work on their craft was enough for Ball to really take his rapping to the next level and pursue it as a career.
“I’m one of those artists that really, really takes pride in putting in that work,” he said in a stern tone. “I like to mix both my hustles from the old school to the new school.”
Mixing his hustles was something he had to do when he returned to high school for his junior year. On the first day of class he was involved in a disastrous car accident that left him paralyzed for 11 months.
“I had to teach myself how to walk again,” he said. “Just going through that time in my life I feel that one part of your body shuts down, the rest of them enhance. I really got in-tuned with my mind and expressing myself with words.”
The calamity further motivated him, serving in the interest of his hustle that didn’t stop even after his unfortunate accident.
Torrian’s grind has opened a lot of eyes and ears besides Twista’s. He has received support from fellow Chicago rapper GLC and Taylor Gang head-honcho, Wiz Khalifa, who he had the pleasure of meeting and making a song with.
Ball met Wiz through a promoter during a private summer pool party in Chicago which Khalifa performed at.
After Wiz was kicked out of a handful of hotels for smoking, the promoter called to ask Ball if they could bring Wiz to his house until Khalifa’s manager Will, was released from the police station for the smoking incident.
“I was like yeah, nigga. Of course you can bring this nigga to my crib,” he said giggling. “After they left my producer called me and was like, “yo Wiz wants to show love for letting him stay at your house, he said he has a hook for you.” I was like huh, for real?”
That hook was put on their single, “Wings”, which was released a year later and reached over 150,000 plays on Ball’s SoundCloud. Listen to it here:
Ball hasn’t gone idle or let the Wiz feature get to his head. Instead he’s continued to work hard on his next project, ‘The 4 God’ EP which he says represents him as well as the “Quad Cities” by way of East Moline, where he’s from.
“I wanna be heard, I’m hungry,” he said. “The title basically is saying I’m the nigga running the city, doing my thing while I’m putting on for the city.”
His first single off the EP, ‘4 God’ illustrates that vision with lyrics like : “Niggas watch me starve, now they wanna play, when I was down wouldn’t front an eighth, had to fall back get my money straight, now my money coming like andale.”
Peep the entire song and fierce lyrics:
Aside from the verbal abuse, the EP also demonstrates Ball’s skills on the board with the mixing and mastering which he is responsible for on the entire EP.
“I could never pay for enough time to vibe in the studio for them to mix and master my songs,” he said. “I was like fuck that, I’m gonna save my money and teach myself, I was blessed enough to know engineers that let me shadow them and come in after-hours.”
Torrian will be dropping ‘The 4 God,’ March 13th, the same week he is expected to perform at the South by Southwest music festival in Austin, Texas.
His overall goal in music isn’t limited to getting signed but also to touch the heart of those who listen.
“Whether I make you wanna party, I make you wanna laugh, I wanna make you cry, everything I put out is gonna make you feel something,” he proclaimed.
Follow Torrian Ball on his socials @TorrianBall to keep up with all his moves and also the positivity he embraces through his movement.
“The movement is, ‘The Good Fly Young,’ do good, be fly, live young,” he said. “You go to my socials you see me encouraging my following on the daily basis to push that negativity out and let that positivity come in, because you can’t receive blessings in life until you push that negativity out.”
Learn more about him here:
WRITTEN BY: BRYAN MELARA – @beeroxx90