Hip-hop artist and writer, Timaal Bradford decided to pursue music as a career around 2015 while completing his second degree at Mississippi State University. The 26-year-old Jackson, Mississippi native said some of biggest influences in music are Eminem, Nas, Common, and Mos Def, Lauryn Hill, Jay Z, Andre 3000, and Kendrick Lamar to name a few.
“I’m also influenced by things outside of music, like literature, art pieces, movies, and so on. Anything that compels me to think deeply about it can be influential enough to further my growth in music,” says Timaal.
In a recent conversation with Timaal, he talks about his new track releases, how his music provokes thought and emotion, and what inspires him. Timaal’s music can be found on Soundcloud.
JB: Describe to me your style of music and what inspires or motivates you to produce your style of music.
TB: I would describe my style of music as conscious rap. My music provokes thought and emotion while being very lyrical at the same time. My favorite rappers are lyrical or conscious rappers, and the best rappers of all time in my opinion are as well. So if I want to be the best, which I do since I’m very competitive, I want to follow the precedent those guys set but be better at it. That’s what motivates me to make the music I do.
JB: Tell me about your recent tracks “No Filter” and “Pablo.” What inspired you to write these songs, and what was the process like of writing the lyrics?
TB: No Filter was created to commemorate one of the actual conversations I had with a close friend that motivated me to pursue a career in music. Pablo was inspired by the project that I’m currently working on and finishing up, so I’ll reveal a bit of the thought process behind that later on. As far as the process behind writing the lyrics, it’s dependent on a lot of different things. For example, No Filter is reflective of an actual life experience, so when writing it, I wanted to basically tell a story and explain what led to the story coming to be, the feeling that I experienced during that interaction and at that moment, and so on. Pablo however is based off metaphors. None of it’s meaning is to be taken in its literal context (i.e., the manufacturing and selling of drugs), but the metaphors that it alludes to will be easier to understand as they pertain to the entirety of the project that it is a part of.
JB: What are three of your favorite tracks you have created, and why are they your favorite?
TB: If I had to choose 3 favorites from my own songs it would be No Filter, Vibes, and Levitate.
Vibes and Levitate have not been released yet but will both be on Love & Other Drugs. No Filter makes the list due to how personal the song is to me, as it stems from a real place that still has an impact on my music today. Vibes, I can’t really explain why I love it so much, but I just do. The music, the lyrics, the hook that my friend Lanecha sang so beautifully, they all play a part in why it’s one of my favorites. Levitate is at the top because it’s one of those songs where I just rap and display my abilities, and it gives me a sort of confidence that I can’t get anywhere else.
JB: What aspect of the music making process excites you most, and what aspect discourages you the most?
TB: The part of creating music that excites me that most is actually recording the music once it’s been written and constructed. I get more nervous recording music in a studio with my engineer than I do performing it in front of a large crowd of people, and that’s because when I’m recording it, I have to make it sound the same way I envisioned it in my mind. I don’t know if it’ll come out the way I want it, and that moment of truth is one of the most exciting parts of the process. The aspect that discourages me the most is that I have to have patience. I’m not the most patient person, and I know that things take time, but I often feel restless when things aren’t going as fast as I want. Success doesn’t happen overnight, but sometimes I wish it would, considering the time and effort I put into my craft.
JB: What can we expect from you in the near future? Can you tell us about any projects and ideas you have in store or are currently working on?
TB: I’m currently working on my next project titled Love & Other Drugs. I don’t want to get too deep into the explanation of it, but I will say that it deals with love and drugs; obviously, and how they can sometimes be very similar and have similar effects on people. A lot of, if not all, of the material involved in the project will be metaphorically tied to love and/or drugs and the experiences and consequences of dealing with both.
JB: What advice can you give to someone who wants to get in the music business?
TB: There are no shortcuts. You will get out what you put in. Your success will be a result of hard work, talent, patience, luck, and timing. Also, it never hurts to be original. Don’t get caught up on wanting to be someone else. Your path is your own; so make your music reflect that.
Images by: @chauncey.mangum