The first time I heard of Stalley I was in LA in late 2009. I saw a blogpost for his mixtape, “MadStalley: The Autobiography” over at The Smoking Section (RMF!). For the most part through TSS comments, NT or Twitter I will usually hear at the least the mention of an artist a few times before I’ll get around to listening to their material. I had never heard of Stalley previously but decided to give it a listen after reading the story of the injured aspiring basketball player turned rapper. The mixtape ‘s intro “Welcome To The Show” has Stalley giving a brief background, thanking the listener for taking their time out, and letting them know how the mixtape will go (“we take a little rollercoaster, some ups and downs..”). Sidenote: the buildup of the instrumental on “Welcome To The Show” is dope as hell. I actually ran into Stalley the next SXSW and told him that he should have rapped over the beat and he told me that a lot of people had felt the same way. The production on MadStalley is top notch and as the title suggests, all the instrumentals are MadLib inspired. I don’t plan on focusing on MadStalley too much so I’ll say that the tracks I enjoyed the most were “Stay”, “The Autobiography”, and “Worldwide feat. Mickey Factz.”
Earlier this year Stalley released his second mixtape “Lincoln Way Nights: Intelligent Trunk Music”. The mixtape is heavily influenced by Stalley’s mid-west upbringing and really gives the listener a good feel for the blue collar, car-centric culture of Massillon, Ohio where Stalley was born and raised. The mixtape was produced entirely by Rashad of Elevate the Game Music, something that is rarely done these days. The chemistry between producer and emcee is easily seen as the production is tailor made for Stalley’s somewhat unorthodox flow. I can honestly rate Lincoln Way Nights as one of the best mixtapes released this year. The number of plays between “Tell Montez I Love Her” and “She Hates The Bass” alone is a disgusting figure. Since Lincoln Way Nights has flooded the blogosphere and given Stalley a huge amount of buzz, he has since been signed to Rick Ross’ Maybach Music Group imprint. Go see why Ross is betting money on Stalley and give Lincoln Way Nights a listen today.