If you surf the hip-hop internet, you’ll notice that right now Toronto commands attention. All eyes are on The Six. Timmy Realtalk and Impressno1 are two of my favorite artists from the city. I have a deep passion for introducing hip-hop talent to the world and I’m honored to put the spotlight on a producer-rapper duo whose work-ethic is impeccable. In this industry, success stories are written by relentless grind. Consistency and perseverance earn you stripes, and those who master these traits often create art that people fall in love with.
I recently reached out to Timmy and Impress to give them a demo of the new 1VIBE website. They decided to let us premiere their latest record “Walk Through” and agreed to jump on WhatsApp for a discussion about what they’ve been collaborating on. The interview below took place on March 25, 2020. It has been lightly edited for clarity.
Ildi: Real quick, can you introduce yourselves, starting with you Timmy.
Timmy: The name is Timmy Realtalk. I’ve been rapping since middle school. My teacher asked me to do a speech and my topic was hip-hop. I ended up rapping the whole speech. The man said I didn’t meet the essay requirements but gave me marks based on the entertainment value. Needless to say… I passed.
Impress: Yo its Impressno1, sickest producer/engineer to come up out of Toronto.
Ildi: Impress… me and you go way back since high-school. Do you remember when/how you and Timmy initially connected?
Impress: If I recall correctly, it was back in my university days, a mutual friend of ours (shout out to Niruja) told me I had to meet her friend. She said he was the sickest rapper she knew. So I had to hold her accountable! Can’t say she was wrong!
Ildi: That’s wicked! What were you studying in university at the time? Timmy is there anything in particular you recall about that period?
Impress: I went to school for Engineering, but most of the time we were locked up in the Riot Radio studio choppin’ it up as usual!
Timmy: I remember not being in university. Stuck wondering about wtf ima do with my life. Shit was kinda cray… when was that Impress? 2010? Or earlier?
Impress: That was around 2008-2009.
Timmy: Jheeez time flies.
Ildi: A decade later… I understand you both did a lot of different things on your own as artists between the years. You recently reconnected and have been crafting new music together. What are you up to currently?
Impress: Damm Ildi why you gotta remind me of time constantly! Haha, yea man Timmy and I just bucked up recently, I had honestly not heard from Timmy other than the usual memorial for his pops every year. Suddenly he was on social media dropping some realtalk. So I asked him if he’s in the mindset to work on some new music. We’ve been in the studio since February. It’s been productive man. I think he has something special for the people.
Timmy: Impress has been a constant in my life since 2008-2009. But the thing with me and him is we’re a bunch of hardheaded mofuckas. What prevented us from truly connecting was our egos. I think the difference this time around was that we have both been through shit. We both grew and we were both like… fam u bod as fuck…. so am I… why aren’t we fucking wit each other. Yuknaahhmeaan? And I swear I’m so candid wit Impress right now. Like dis bwoi tell me go left I’m going left without looking. That’s the vibes. Ride or die.
Impress: I agree, working with Timmy has been a dream, it’s not everyday you get to work with someone who you have 10 years of friendship between, and its like we are both creating a masterpiece together, and he allows me to have my vision for the product as well. Its a journey every time!
Ildi: I’m hyped to see you guys link up. Ya’ll are giving us the opportunity to drop an exclusive today, and we are honored to bring it to the world. Timmy can you tell us a bit about the record you and Impress are releasing today?
Timmy: The tracks is called Walk Through. It stems from our love for video games. We giving them a walk through of the game. Yuhzeeit. Honestly this wasn’t a preplanned concept. Me and Impress just get in the lab and create on the spot.
Ildi: Impress… as a producer what’s it like working with an artist who has the ability to come in and start to build concepts from scratch. Can you tell us a bit about that process?
Impress: Man I love it that way, not everyone can do it. Most people want me to send beats to them and they take their time to write and they get back to me with their creation. Me being the beat maker, producer, and engineer, it gives me a lot of space to get creative when I build with the artist. Working with someone who sees my vision for the song is quite rare. With Timmy it’s just so fluid, we show up, get focused, and just find sounds that we both gravitate towards. By the time I have a groove Timmy’s usually deep in a verse. From there it’s just recording and polishing.
Ildi Timmy… you sent me the lyrics for the track earlier today. On the hook you spit “I put work in yeah i know that talk is cheap, If u dreamin while u woke then brother why u need to sleep?” I love these type of bars, where so much is being said using very few words. Can you dive deeper behind the meaning of these particular lines?
Timmy: I been out here for a minute man. A lot of people lose themselves in the daily struggle. For me those bars were a reminder of where I came from. I was just hoping it reminded others where they came from. If you dreaming while u woke then brother then why you need to sleep? Shit ain’t easy but i been there man. As much as this track might sound like a street anthem, it’s a reminder to the mandem out there that you’re never too small to achieve your dreams. My outlook might be biased but shit… I came from the streets.
Ildi: That’s ill, I can definitely say that you sound real hungry on the record, I feel the determination.
Timmy: Thank you brother. I’m focused and hungry. If you feel my hunger. Then i’m on the right path.
Ildi: Impress… the track is 2 minutes and 20 seconds long. There is a lot of debate these days about song format/arrangement/length. How do you think things have evolved in the hip-hop genre and what type of experiments are you doing right now with the music you and Timmy are making?
Impress: I love it when people dissect the music! Music in general has evolved, I heard Eminem mention this in the Mike Tyson interview recently, “Rappers Delight” was 7 minutes long and they played that record top to bottom. Today, you get 45 seconds, and if i’m not fascinated, its immediately being skipped. So I try to keep records at around 3 minutes long. With “Walk Through” we were considering adding another verse, but the song had so much replay ability without the third verse. So we left the people wanting more and hitting repeat more often. At least that’s the idea.
Ildi: Timmy… last time we smoked a blunt you were telling me about how key it was that you have complete trust and belief in the guidance that Impress brings to the sessions. Hip-hop is known for it’s legendary producer-artist duos who have worked closely such as Dr. Dre and Eminem. Im curious… who are some of your favorites?
Timmy: Eric B. and Rakim, Big Daddy Kane and Marley Marl, Prodigy and Alchemist, Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince, Dre and Em, 40 and Drizzy, Hov and Ye, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis.
Impress: Oh man, I could make a list, I just might: Gangstarr, Missy and Timbo, Diddy and Biggie, Eminem and Dre, 40 and Drake, Mike Will and Gucci, Logic and 6ix. There’s alot man, and I think it really goes to show that music is never about just one person, it is and forever will be a team sport. I’m sure there are so many I’ve missed, but there are a lot of successful duos.
Ildi: So you’ve been cooking up since February, lets focus in a bit. Are you working on a project or is it still in the early stages. Where do you see things going?
Impress: At this point I think we are well into a project, but we are still experimenting with sounds. I can’t speak on this alone but we definitely plan to showcase a few records while still working to polish the project. But so far we are about 3 songs deep. One of which is already on streaming platforms. Check it out if you haven’t already. A Long Way.
Timmy: We been working. I think the way me and Impress are working right now, we gon have a few albums under our belt post quarantine lol. But we still practicing social distancing so is kinda hard. All I can tell you Ildi is… I’m not slowing down. Impress is focused. So put 2 and 2 together. The game is ours.
Ildi: Speaking of quarantine and social distancing, shit is starting to feel real chaotic right about now. The web is flooding with confusion and misinformation for the most part. How does this whole situation affect you guys as far as creating music together? What do you think about the Covid-19 virus pandemic. As of this moment we stand at 460,000 confirmed cases worldwide and 21,000 deaths. How has daily life changed for both of you?
Timmy: Tbh man. This situation is not something we should take lightly. It’s hitting us hard and it’s going to hit us harder in the coming weeks. It’s affected our progress and our growth most def. We thinking twice before we buck up in the booth. As creative individuals Impress and I hate being cooped up. But if this is what it takes to help our people beat this thing. Then we staying home. As should all of you.
Impress: This shit is wild bro, man’s cant go to the studio, man’s definitely not spitting in my microphones, let alone step in the booth. Like Timmy said we have to get better and heal, if the social distancing is what it takes, then I’m all for it. This are some insane times fam. I still cant wrap my head around it. And don’t get me started on the toilet paper. SMH
Ildi: I just wana send a quick shout-out to anyone who is out there working to save lives and keep life running for everyone. If you pay close attention you can see some real heroes sacrificing their life so the world can heal. God bless those folks!
I think we should wrap it up here. I’m about to put on some headphones and put that “Walk Through” record on repeat. We gon def see both of you around these ways in the near future. For now can you let us know how fans or anyone interested in reaching out can connect with you?
Impress: Hey man I hope you and everyone else has as much fun listening to it as we did making it. Ildi I also want to thank you and everyone at 1VIBE who made this possible. We artists are nothing without the publications. Keep up the good work, and thank you! Everyone can find me on IG @impressno1. Love always.
Timmy: First and foremost I want show love to 1VIBE and Ildi for taking our shit in. Guaranteed it’s gon be a long road but me and Impress got this. Ya’ll can find me on the gram @timmyrealtalk. Stay safe. Stay quarantined. Flatten the curve. See ya’ll when the dust settles. #salute
Ildi: Respect brother! We are real excited for the future and have you on our radar. Talk soon!
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