Stalley always fit like the round piece of a square puzzle within Rick Ross’ Maybach Music Group. He’s spent his career flirting with flash; seemingly content with his 6th man status while the rest of the Maybach roster were pushed that extra mile towards chart success. His new EP, Tell the Truth Shame the Devil, showcases Stalley stepping out on his independent shit and he results are pure fire.
Tell the Truth Shame the Devil boxes Stalley out of his comfort zone and strays far from the Midwestern soul sampling that has become a trademark of his work. The project is produced entirely by Supah Mario, the former janitor-turned producer with credits from Drake to Young Thug. Mario maximized Stalley’s lyrical power by laying instruments over trap drums, creating a cohesive atmosphere rather than relying on trap’s frenetic monotony that has nearly played itself out in 2017.
The project kicks off with the gritty “1 Deep (Solo)”, Stalley’s glorious middle finger salute to the corporate world. He’s firing shots at what can only be perceived as his previous employers over a ferocious beat. “These niggas full of lies, I got trust issues. And I ain’t sending shots, I’m sending scud missiles. No subliminal’s, directly in your fuckin’ face. No back and forth banter; I do the Porsche, Phantom. I ran my course granted, I been lappin’ you niggas since the jet landed.” Shots fired.
Stalley quickly finds his footing on “Jean Jacket” where he spits, “artists nowadays is new slaves, trying to appeal to the Masters, tap dancin’ to get a check, who can run to it faster.” This obvious frustration with the label process provides a firm backbone for the entire EP; exploring the notion that the independent grind pays out exactly what you put in.
“My Line” featuring Migos is the EP’s true single. The song rides a predicable wave and has all the makings of a run of the mill release in 2017, but doesn’t wear out its welcome with multiple listens. Migos bring the star quality to a track that will likely introduce Stalley’s Blue Collar Gang mentality to a brand new audience. His fans may argue that the Migos connection doesn’t gel straight away; but it plays like a brilliant business move for a rapper who is clearly tired of playing the sidelines.
Whether or not Stalley finds his pot of gold is yet to be seen. His catalog is strong, his fan base is loyal, and his live show is on point; yet he’s still lurking inches from the spotlight. Tell the Truth Shame the Devil is a swing for the fences, employing some very familiar tricks that have made less talented rappers a boatload of cash. Trap-Stalley might be a blip on his career radar, but who can be mad at the man for chasing a bag?