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East Moline native aims to change landscape of rap

The East Moline native hopes his journey and music will inspire others to find the positivity in their own lives.

EAST MOLINE, Ill. — In the midst of gun violence and tension across the country, there's a voice from the Quad Cities promoting positivity in communities.

East Moline native Torrian Ball is bringing new life to today's music. 

"Once I started putting my journey and the things that I'd been through the things that I overcame so much into my music, that's when it all clicked," Torrian said.

He's been a rapper for about six years.

"I'm talking about things that the everyday-person goes through," Torrian said.

He's is making his voice heard in a different way.

"That it's the positive energy, the positive thoughts, that can change your life," Torrian said.

His life has not always been that way.

"I was using alcohol to basically be able to sleep at night," he said.

While growing up, Torrian lost most of his immediate family. His mom died from an overdose, his grandfather died from diabetes and his brother died in a car accident. He was raised by his grandmother who died a few years ago.

"That was probably the most hardest and challenging things that I had went through," he said.

His depression and anxiety almost got the best of him.

"If I didn't make the decision to give up drinking, I could potentially die," he said.

The alcohol wasn't the end of his dark times. While Torrian's father has been locked up in prison for most of his life, he also was behind bars for a short time after facing charges over possession of marijuana and assault on a police officer. 

"When I went through the pain that I went through, the only person that I had to talk to was God," he said.

Torrian listened to his faith to guide his next steps.

"God pushed me and said, 'Hey, I got a plan for you," he said.

It's something he's now living today.

"I turn my tragedies into triumph," he said. "I'm using that pain that I went through to put it into my music, for people that didn't know how to put these emotions in words."

His sounding off with his own message of positivity.

"Taking that and really building a foundation all over the world, just by being relatable," he said. "That's why I call myself the king of relatable rap. The way I was making people more conscious of mental health, healing, going through things and doing it from a manly standpoint."

The connection is showing through Torrian's social media platforms. His Spotify account has more than 230,000 followers and his TikTok has reached around five million. In addition, dozens of Torrian's fans have added tattoos on themselves written as "+ Vibes" in light of his focus.

Credit: WQAD
Torrian Ball shows "+ Vibes" tattoo.

"I got messages from people all over the world saying, 'Hey, your song 'Misunderstood' just saved my life, your song 'Jungle' just saved my life,'" he said.

"I utilized his one song, 'Jungle,' about four years ago," United Township High School teacher and Torrian's former classmate Kevin Marner said.

Torrian's music is also making an impact in schools.

"I decided to play that song to show them that somebody close to home made it out with his perseverance, with his grit," Kevin said.

"All those small-town kids with big-city dreams, you can do it," Torrian said. "The fact that my life, my testimony and me leading by example is showing them that it's possible."

Torrian has since released a new single called "Quad Cities" that is linked with his major label debut album "Philophobia." He will also launch a national 12-city tour on Oct. 20 beginning in Chicago. The rapper has also published a book, "Vibes Don't Lie." It has been under the best selling author category after being number 1 in the area of social philosophy on Amazon. 

He now lives in Beverly Hills, California.

Watch previous coverage of Torrian on News 8's YouTube channel

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