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Stalley’s Solo Ride

He’s a refreshing abnormality in the hip-hop game; a grounded rapper without a skewed sense of reality or inflated self-worth.

Stalley’s music doesn’t struggle with its identity. Born from the blue-collar sweat of Massillon, Ohio, its working man’s appeal creates an accessibility that welcomes us to his world. His projects are characterized by a raw blend of low-end trunk-rattling bass, and thought-provoking musings that showcase the highs and lows of an intimate game controlled by music industry pimps who pull strings. Punctuated by a massive beard, designer wears, and a trademark BCG (Blue Collar Gang) cap, Stalley’s wit and introspection bookend his genuine spirit and savvy microphone technique.

He recently took a few minutes to speak on his latest moves just 48 hours ahead of the release of Tell The Truth Shame The Devil Vol 2. We conducted the interview over a phone session where nothing felt off limits. His patience and warmth were undeniable, and what stood out was an intense passion for writing and recording music.

He’s a refreshing abnormality in the hip-hop game; a grounded rapper without a skewed sense of reality or inflated self-worth. He seemed hungry and perfectly comfortable riding one deep into 2018.

 
The new EP is volume 2, right? Did you intend to create two volumes or release it in pieces?

Yeah, when I first started the recording process, I just put my head down and got into the studio every day. I accumulated so many records, [so] it was the only way I felt I could I get all the music out. I really wanted it to be heard; it’s important because it’s some of the best music that I’ve done. I am open on the records about a lot of issues the fans have questions about. I’m giving people the answers through the music and also letting people know where I am in life at this moment. It’s actually planned as a trilogy. I wanted to break the music into parts, so it’s smaller and easier to focus on, rather than give you twenty records to digest. So yes, this is volume two, and there will be a volume three coming, and that will be it for the Tell The Truth Shame The Devil series.

You’ve been prolific the last eighteen months with New Wave, Another Level, Tell The Truth Shame The Devil (Vol 1 and 2). Is there a specific release schedule or are you getting music out as soon as it’s recorded and ready to go?

I just give it enough time where people have a chance to really sit with the music. I try to come with content and visuals for it, and once I feel like people are ready or excited about something new, I drop it. Most of the music is already done, but I definitely wait to hear from the fans. When they’re ready and asking for new music, asking online or asking at shows, it’s ready to go.

Another Level was a strong project with a mixtape feel. Was that music you had in the stash?

Yeah, with New Wave and Another Level I loved the attention and appreciation for those projects because I had been sitting on both for maybe a year and a half. I felt like it was time to clear out the Rolodex (laughs). It was time to release everything I had sitting. A lot of my friends tell me I’m a music hoarder. They say I record so much and hoard it. So I went through the hard drive I had sitting around and put a few bodies of work together, and as you said, they had an old-school mixtape feel teamed with that rawness and hunger. And man, I was excited about the response. People appreciated them.

Going all the way back to Lincoln Way Nights, I’ve felt like you’ve made music that’s honest and accessible but still had your unique spirit in it. That’s a testament to your blue-collar tendencies; that Ohio mindset.

Yes, that everyday man and everyday woman, that’s what I want.

Does that work ethic define you and your approach to making music?

Oh yeah, of course. Being from Ohio, and not only from Ohio but a small city in Ohio, and it not being a hotbed for hip-hop, I feel like you just have to outwork people. Whether it’s sports or entertainment, music, or even on some every day going to the steel factory. It feels like you have to give a little bit extra to get that recognition. But yeah, there’s a lot of talent, and that’s not taking away from the talent, but you have to be in people’s faces and work a little harder to let people know what you’ve got going on. It’s easy when you come from New York, Atlanta, Chicago or LA; people listen because you’re from a big city. But I pride myself on my blue collar work ethic and speaking to blue collar people. The everyday man and woman, they’re out there grinding towards their dream, like I have.

One of the lines from “1 Deep” says don’t ask me about nobody else but BCG (Blue Collar Gang), but you know I have to. Your music always felt more independent, left of the dial from the big money feel of MMG. In retrospect, would you say MMG was the right fit for you?

I think MMG was right for that moment or that era of my career. I feel like it was something that presented itself as a great opportunity. But yes, I definitely have that independent feel or independent grind. You know, I like to be able to record music and put it out in a way that is true to me.

That’s why people gravitate to your music. It’s about where you’re from and what you see but also who you are. It translates to an individual listening experience. Is that happening in music today? Is there a difference today between hip hop and rap?

People used to say that there was a gap between hip-hop and rap before. But now that gap is widening. Hip-hop and entertainment…there is a gap. I’m someone who has listened to hip-hop my whole life. I’ve had older people introduce me to some of the traditional artists like Tribe, Scarface, and Nas. I feel like back in the day, even when people had the conversation about hip-hop and rap, there was still some sort of lyrical message in the music. Some people may have argued that E-40 was rap, but Brand Nubian was hip hop. But if you listen to E-40, he was rapping. He had a message. He still had something to say. These days I’m not sure if everyone rapping has something to say.

There’s nothing wrong with a vibe, music right now is about energy. That vibe is the craft. But music is cyclical; it comes around. Where is the culture headed as we move into 2018?

The culture is shifting back to where music has something to say. Where we’re at politically and socially right now, people are feeling the importance of saying what needs to be said, so I feel like we’re getting back there in 2018.

I want to run through a few highlights from your catalog. Try and sum up the vibe of the song, or where your head was when it was recorded. Let’s start with “Pound”.

“Pound” is just powerful. It’s energetic. It’s Black and strong. It’s uplifting and motivating. That song is African warriors marching through the city.

“Petrin Hill Peonies.”

Man…that song is just freedom. Space and seclusion; just being away from the rest of the world.

“Samson.”

“Samson” embodies Stalley. “Money every day that the beard grows” (laughs). It’s just all energy. It’s my identity. It’s an anthem that’s an introduction for anyone who doesn’t know who I am.

“Navajo Rugs.”

It’s about wanting to be perfect, every line just stitched in, knitted to be the perfect feel or vision. It’s about enjoying life and wanting to be better. It’s about paying attention to detail, to emotion, and to spirituality.

“808z.”

That’s Ohio. That’s Massillon. That’s my childhood growing up. That’s what we did; we rolled around with 808’s booming, just Chevy riding. That’s the feel.

“Madden 96.”

Man, that’s just about being very young and being introduced to the game. Just sitting around with the older homies while they’re smoking and drinking, playing the game while everyone is laughing and arguing. Then jumping into an Impala at night and riding around.

“Japanese Denim.”

That’s it right there. My favorite denim, pure attention to detail, it’s heavy and life-lasting. It’s built strong like my style and career. It’s authentic and timeless.

“1 Deep (Solo).”

That’s where I’m at right now. I’m one deep on a solo mission, riding and grinding. I’m a new man, a new me. There’s a new energy, and that song explains it all.

“Holy Quran.”

That’s the space where I’m at. I’m getting back to what I’m built on. God is always with me and controls everything. Knowing that with him anything is possible. With that book and those teachings, that’s what has built me as a man, an artist, as a father, as a brother, as a son…everything. I have songs on the new EP with more energy, but I wanted to lead with “Holy Quran” and let people feel that.

So what’s 2018 going to bring? Volume 2 is releasing at midnight on the 23rd. Volume 3 next, and then shows/tour?

I have a few stand-alone shows lined up for April. Volume 3 of Tell The Truth Shame The Devil will follow Volume 2, but I have no official release date for that yet. Then hopefully a tour in the spring/summer, be ready for that. And thank you for spreading the word.


Be sure to follow @Stalley on social media and pick up Vol 1 and 2 of Tell The Truth Shame The Devil on all major streaming platforms today. Also, check out our Stalley playlist on Spotify curated from the interview!

My name is J.D, the music fanatic, writer, blogger, and educator. I've been in love with hip hop since Bishop got too close to the ledge. If it moves me, I'll cover it. I've written an unpublished novel, created Shiny Glass Houses, and had my work featured on the Bloglin for Mishka NYC. I'm lurking in the shadows on twitter @ThexGlassxHouse. Read. Comment. Get money.
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#Interview Mark Spratley AKA @SpratFool Is Proving You Don’t Need Clout Tokens To Solidify A Musical Empire

Mark Spratley is a name in the industry you certainly should get acquainted with. A master of many, creating an…

Mark Spratley is a name in the industry you certainly should get acquainted with. A master of many, creating an entity in so many different lanes within the industry from management, PR, writing, events, curation and much more. Within 5 years of the industry, Sprat has accomplished what takes many 20-30 years. The young 27 year old mogul is creating an empire before our eyes and it only seems to be getting more and more impressive. Why wouldn’t it?! From helping to bring artists such as Lud Foe, DDG, DaBaby, Smooky Margielaa, Albee Al, Sicko Mobb, Nikko Lafre and many more to the limelight, his resume is vast.

Take a look at our most recent interview with the Starting Five CEO as we discuss music, how to get in the industry, his journey and much more.

Make sure to follow Sprat on Twitter and IG @SpratFool

You’ve been in the music industry for only 5 years and have already created something massive. How did you do it and what is planned for the future?

Countless hours, grind, plotting and studying. I’ve learned and LVL’d UP. That’s it. I knew if I put in the work I would find a way. I go 3000% for what ever I do or whoever I work with. Some people make the same moves and expect things to change. Some people aren’t willing to starve in order to binge forever. I’m out here mastering and succeeding at whatever I do. I make sure of it. I’ve got an insane ear for music, that’s been known. That’s why some of your favorite A&R’s would be asking me to pull up to their office on the regular.

I’m here to takeover though. I’m going to continue to put people into position and continue my brand. The empire is forming, the foundation has been laid and built.

We recently saw in another interview that you have a new platform on the way? Whats the details on that? (If you can give us any)

NEW DAY, NEW WAVE (LITERALLY). Zias (Popular youtube star &influencer) and myself are partnering up on a new media outlet x platform for something special. We’re about to surpass the field quick. Two powerful influencers, we already got the traffic between the both of us, both widely connected. Run it up!

Bunch of content on the way from the both of us

If you could tell someone looking to get into the industry one piece of advice, what would it be?

GRIND SMART. Bring something to the table. Your passion and time can go a long way. Learn. Be willing to do what the next man is not.

You know how much free time and work I gave out to get to where I am now?! Now my time costs. Money isn’t everything in the beginning, work for your opportunity. People worried about $20-$5000 (Short term money) when sometimes you just need to see the bigger picture.

You wouldn’t want everyone to bring ketchup to the BBQ, you need someone to bring the bun, the burger, the juice, the drink and everything else. You feel me?! Same goes for the industry or any job you do in life. Bring something different to the table and create a demand for it. That’s when you create stock for yourself (You create worth).

What were you doing before becoming a music mogul?

I was doing the school thing before I decided to leave for music full time. I was making money however I needed to.

What new artists do you have your eye on?

NEW SIGNINGS on the way. I’m getting back in my artist bag 3000%. Look out for all of that. I got to hold my list down for the time being.

How did you get into PR?

Fresh Moss and Neako had me on a lot of PR type of moves early. I always studied and noticed was was going on in the game. Got tired of hitting up a lot of these foolish and corny “Bloggers” and people that were out and around at the time that felt entitled. A lot of them aren’t even around anymore haha. Many didn’t want to see someone else moving faster or really making something out of all this. I decided to take everything into my own hands. From then on I turned this PR wave into something masterful. Countless artists have popped off since through my PR, their ability and me connecting these dots on the daily.

Top 5 modern artists most likely in your daily music mix?

It all depends on the day and mood

Lately… DaBaby, pre kai ro, Lil Baby, YNW Melly, Stunna 4 Vegas & DaiDough. I’ve been bumping FBG Duck heavily as of late, bro got energy.

A few artists are rising up out of New Jersey that you’ve been alerting us about for over a year or 2. From Daidough to Coi Leray and many more. New Jersey has some talent for sure, how do you think your state will hold up in 2019?

New Jersey is UP right now and it’s only going to get crazier. A lot of artists doing their thing. Daidough got home and been going stupid. Coi Leray has been spazzin since G.A.N.

Albee Al doing him as always, Tsu Surf home and just dropped a fire project, Arsonal on damn TV, Fatboy SSE is outta here and in his own lane, Mir Fontane been putting in work. Jersey got a wide variety of sounds, every city/town is different, North and South Jersey completely different.

Beyond the artists there are so many talented people coming up out of NJ and doing their thing in this music industry or elsewhere. It’s great to see people winning from your home state.

We remember you going crazy at SXSW with Smooky Margielaa a few years back when he was only an artist with a 10k following, how did you all meet?

Shitt my man Mike had told me I had to bump something while we was in LA. The track happened to be ‘Layed up’, heard it and it was a wrap for me. His mans was GRAPE, we was all in LA, so we all linked up at the apartment, vibed and got to work immediately. Started putting in that push, went to SXSW and went full force after SXSW. Glad to see Smooky up right now.

We dove into your Twitter and did a little google search on you while doing some more research. We saw you got into it a little with Akademiks online last year? LOL, tell us more?

LMAO! If you did some research like you said I’m sure you know what was said. Jersey people certainly don’t tolerate bullshit. I called BS on something he spoke on. Jersey got behind it. That’s it.

What ever happened to Nikko Lafre?

Man I can’t speak on another man that’s not with me. We definitely had something crazy growing, that’s where I’m going to leave it.

Drew Love out here winning though with THEY, Lee Beats out here winning, Johnny Rain out here still doing his thing up.

#Interview Mark Spratley AKA @SpratFool Is Proving You Don't Need Clout Tokens To Solidify A Musical Empire

Thoughts on R Kelly latest situation and documentary?

SHEESH! I don’t want to believe it but it’s their right before our eyes. It’s a shame because his music and voice is absolutely legendary. I feel as though 60 Minutes would have been a more credible platform to present this problem to the world instead of a Lifetime documentary. I’d like to hear R Kelly voice his defense for sure but regardless his actions are sickening. We’ll see how it taints his legacy, it is 2019 so who knows.

2019 plans?

REGULATE

#Interview Mark Spratley AKA @SpratFool Is Proving You Don't Need Clout Tokens To Solidify A Musical Empire #Interview Mark Spratley AKA @SpratFool Is Proving You Don't Need Clout Tokens To Solidify A Musical Empire

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James Seville’s Jamesville Is An Honest Slice Of Alt-Hip-Hop Vibes

Having first got onto New Orleans-born artist James Seville after he dropped his first release via streaming networks, Beta, he’s…

Having first got onto New Orleans-born artist James Seville after he dropped his first release via streaming networks, Beta, he’s been an exciting artist to watch grow. The initial taste of his sound provided a diverse base of alternative Hip Hop potential, and as he’s grown, the music has only become more personal, and — whether intentional or not — refined. His first official release, which comes after a string of one-off singles (which we were here for), Jamesville is an exciting blend of vibes that perfectly encapsulate the new waves blurred lines between bar-centric traditionalism and melody-driven bops.

“I open up a lot and talk about things that have helped me grow throughout the years…losing my dad, dropping out of school, falling in love, falling out of love, drinking, drugs [etc.],” James told N.O.-based Off Beat Magazine this past summer. “I like to make music that is genuinely good, and that people of all ages can enjoy. Rap music that you and your mom can bump together.”

It’s this universality and approachability that makes this latest body of work so enjoyable. With his late father being a blues musician, and having grown up engulphed in the iconically jazzy sound of “N’Awlins,” James music has this unique approach. It’s a melting pot of vibes, brimming with emotion — yet acutely aware of its contemporary appeal. This can be seen by contrasting the infectious groove of “The Kids Will Be Fine” with the sure-shot hit-appeal of “Send2Me” — which will be seeing a visual treatment this month — and “Margarita” featuring Shvkiel.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BuetCVqlyKp/
 
The project kicks off with a playful vibe, with “Career Day” — complete with a skit that put us in mind (spiritually) of Kanye’s critically acclaimed debut, College Dropout. The tongue-n-cheek- theme of fuck school take your own path isn’t religiously adhered to (at least in a straight forward sense), but does carry over in the second song, “School Spirit,” which features Ayomari (an artist we’ve had on our radar for a while now).

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bn_mRWcAatI/
 

“I am inspired by a lot of older New Orleans musicians,” he told DNO magazine in an interview. “My mom always took me out of school and brought me to Jazz Fest ever since I can remember … I met Allen Toussaint when I was nine-years-old.”

This impending sense of making his dreams a priority is felt on the album, as is this gloss of smokey grooves that make it immediately likable. With James recently revealing that he is becoming a father this August, there is feeling that things go in full-circle. Jamesville is an encapsulation of his road up to this point; an excellent opportunity to orient yourself for what he has coming next. “I haven’t stopped smiling since Jamesville came out,” James admitted via Instagram. “I hope y’all are enjoying it.”

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Madwiz Chats Career Goals & Creative Inspirations: ”One Of My Fave Rappers Is Kool Keith”

When artists say their inspirations include names like Eminem, Biggie, Tupac, or “all the greats,” but their music doesn’t represent…

When artists say their inspirations include names like Eminem, Biggie, Tupac, or “all the greats,” but their music doesn’t represent it at all, it simply comes off as pandering — to us anyways. It’s natural to be a fan of the greats, but we often find ourselves drawn to artists who not only like to explore a bevy of genres but timelessly seek out and draw inspiration from artists that other rappers may not. That’s one thing that drew us to Brooklyn MC Madwiz.

We’re admittedly late to the party, but his latest LP 718-MAD-WIZ is an absolute masterpiece that we’ve been bumping since discovery, and it’s not getting old. It’s this cool eclectic patchwork of samples and vibes; we decided to reach out and learn a little more about his sound — and career trajectory.

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bt3fv9nnVC2/?utm_source=ig_share_sheet&igshid=13m90cfi57e9m

“I’ll put it plain and simple for you: I want to be the greatest rapper that ever lived,” he tells AAHH bluntly. The self proclaimed “new sound of Brooklyn” hails the Ohio Players and his favorite band, and Prince as his favorite artist. His biggest inspiration (as far as career direction)? Marvin Gaye.

One time I got in trouble with my pops and he took away my ‘new music privileges’ and I had to start listening to hip hop from scratch,” he explained (low-key making his father sound like the coolest guy ever. “[I listened] from the beginning: Cold Crush, Egyptian Lover, Soul Sonic Force, Newcleus … ’Jam On It’ is still my shit. I had to study until I caught up!”

With such an eclectic array of sounds molding his own, the final layer can be attributed to one of Hip Hop’s most unique figures, the ”Ultramagnetic MC” himself, Kool Keith.

“One of my favorite rappers is Kool Keith. Whoever knows him recognizes he can say the most outlandish shit at times, but I’ll be damned if he ain’t telling the truth when he does,” he notes. “I took pages out of that book and added it to my style … and boom — Madwiz.

“It’s raunchy, it’s sexy, it’s poetic, it’s gangsta, it’s love.”

Having opened for names like Kendrick Lamar and A$AP Ferg, he has more than a few milestones under his belt, but says his biggest career moments are often the result of leveling up. “My biggest accomplishments are whenever I level up creatively… it shows in the reaction when I put shit out.”

This latest album, though, is something he considers to reside amongst his brightest accomplishments. “I evolved significantly from my last joint and the ones before it,” he says proudly. “I thought I was better than lots of these ”MCs” before, but once I saw that come together the way it did … I don’t even doubt. I’m humble though, I’ll talk more shit when I get through the door. Job not done [*Kobe voice.*]”

As he continues the rollout for the project, telling AAHH he has videos planned for every track (we’re looking forward to a visual for “2” featuring Radamiz, btw), Madwiz hopes this music will ultimately resonate amongst the majority of listeners.

“I want the world to agree on something for once … I’m making it so that one thing is the Madwiz discography and whatever it brings,”
he says. “I’m just creating as I go through shit, but above all, I want what everybody else wants. Peace of mind. Let’s find that.”

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#Interview: Kaash Paige Talks New Video “Love Songs”

“This song could potentially change my life,” she says.

18-year-old Texas singer Kaash Paige has been popping up on our feed — and playlists — as of late with her infectiously mellow vibes that we, quite frankly, can’t get enough of. After teasing a visual for her new single titled “Love Songs” for the last month or so, she finally releases it yesterday (February 14), with a trippy treatment sure to get you hooked.

“It’s about being infatuated with someone who wants nothing to do with you,” she tells AAHH of the single. “It’s like being stuck on stupid that four letter word, love. “I feel like the catchy hook caught everyone’s ears [thus far] and this song can potentially change my life.

“The visual is the icing on the cake; my friend Matthew and I directed it,” she continues. Basically, it’s me reminiscing on every little thing I used to do with my significant other.”

As Kaash explains, she doesn’t plan on slowing the momentum at all, and if you’re a fan of the vibe, she’s about to get even more mellow.

“I’ve gotten more into acoustics and neo-soul,” she notes, ”so keep rocking with me for the groove.”

Check out Kaash Paige’s “Love Songs,” below.

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Evidence Weathers the Storm, Juggling Personal Life and Rap Career

20 years later, Evidence is still putting out quality Hip Hop.

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