Fresh off a tour in Liege, Belguim, the Ohio rapper Stalley, talked with A3C exclusively before coming to Atlanta to perform for the Artist Garden Showcase. Since, dropping the debut album Ohio, in 2014 the fans enjoyed Stalley’s ‘intelligent trunk music’ as testament to its commercial success. Since, then we’ve learned that his affinity for the classic car is part of is music vibe. Too, his stylized fashion sense is classically, second natured. Finally, Stalley hasn’t forgotten, hard work is done by Blue Color Gangs.
The MMG rapper’s newest release “The Laughing Introvert” EP is 7 tracks and not heavy with features. At his best, Stalley proves he is a classic rap artist; good with word play and giving us distinctive flows and cadence. Stalley did want he needed to do quickly with the Laughing Introvert; like an efficient blue collar craftsmanship should.
Tell us about the European Tour. How different is it performing overseas?
Belgium. Incredible time… Different vibes…The fans interact and respond to the music even though English is not their first language. It’s amazing to see people know the lyrics and rap along with you word for word…it’s a beautiful thing. I enjoy being in front of the fans. As long as you give me a mic, a stage, and there’s people in the room; we turning up.
Let’s explore the title: “Laughing Introvert.” I am thinking…It’s a person who, while into themselves secretly strategizes. They laugh because the plan is to win regardless, yet others are in confusion. Is this close to your meaning?
Yeah…it’s that…like you said…well…that’s very similar [Laughs]. It’s an inside joke with myself. [He Laughs Again]. Like you said…it’s someone who’s an introvert. I’m not really in the mix. I’m not all in front of the cameras and things like that unless is for visuals. I am pretty much all to myself. At the same time, I have a beautiful and supporting fan base with other people around that support me too.
We laugh sometimes at things because being a part of a crew like MMG or just in this industry people automatically assume things. Like you should have flash, jewelry, and cars and do the things that are flaunted in the cameras. Yeah, sure…I have some of these things, but I don’t live that life. I am not putting that out there publicly. So it’s kind of like, I’m laughing at y’all…cause I don’t live a great luxurious lifestyle. My life is a luxury.
Visuals translate concepts. The visuals for “Voila” were spot on. The vibe was clearly mellow, but the break functioned as a club banger. Was that the inspiration behind this video?
Wow…that video…we shot that at 4am on the Brooklyn Bridge. You know, I really wanted to shoot that in Paris, but didn’t get the chance. It was a lot of fun vibing and dancing out there. With that music I wanted to give the fans a lot of me in the project. I think I dug deep into who Stalley is has an artist with the sound and everything. I saw the response to the song and wanted to make it as European as possible; but in the states. I needed the video to relate the vibe and the energy of the music.
So many people feel my music is laid back or you can only do one thing to it. People be like… you got that cruiser music or that smoker’s music…, I want you to know that you can dance, vibe and have a good time. The party doesn’t always have to be ‘turnt’ with trap music or trap beats. You know back in the day Hip Hop was Hip Hop and people were dancing. All kinds of dance like break dancing or whether it was to all types of styles, sound and genres. I wanted to bring that feeling back. This could be a club song just as much as the next song could be.
Let’s talk Expectations. Are you expected to have a Turnt Up sound because of your affiliation with MMG? When touring in various countries and states how is the experience for you?
Yeah yeah…People expect the turn up. When they think of MMG; it’s a brand…you know it was built on a certain sound and a certain type of music. So when you’re a part of that crew and you have somebody like Ross who believes in you and looks at you like… as an icon and as one of the best artistic; well it gives people expectations. The music gonna come out sounding like him or sounding like that sound. The MMG is sound is diverse. It doesn’t just have to be trap or street; it can be more. I don’t think people have warmed up to that yet. I have been able to break through that perception a little bit. With just staying consistent and persistent with my sound and who I am as an artist can change that.
Fortunately, I get a lot of love here in New York. I’ve performed in almost every venue here; except Madison Square Garden. I even got the chance to perform at the Barclay’s Center with Ross for the Def Jam Anniversary, last year. You know, it’s a good response and I’ve lived here in New York since 2000. A lot of people don’t know that; so this is kind of like home to me now. It’s always been a good reception from the people. Maybe it’s the sound of my music or the style of the music or the authenticity of my music that people like and dig I’ve always got a good response here same with the South and the Midwest. It depends on what pocket you go into. Ultimately, enough in my career I’ve been accepted pretty much everywhere.
Let’s talk about two things very important to you: Your clothing and your family. It’s got to be tough; all those absences how do you balance this?
Yeah…BCG Brand is my focused brand. We have hats, shirts, hoodies and sweaters and other things. We are going to build on that this coming year. The awareness of the brand is picking up. It’s been doing great. I just recently put out tee shirts and hats about a month ago. We did a pop-up shop in Columbus, Ohio and everything sold out in twelve minutes. Wow…before I could get to the store everything was gone. It’s a blessing that everything is taking place and I am gonna keep building. Before I really call it a fashion line, I want to make sure the pieces are good. It has to be up to par. The quality has to be right and everything. I don’t what to throw just anything out there.
Family…it’s tough being away from my children… it is hard. They understand; it’s all about knowing I’ll be back home. It’s about knowing that I am out there doing something positive and always try to keep things as calm as possible. You know…keep my career afloat, but it gets tiring at times. My family makes it easy; they believe and trust in me and this career. They love me. That defeats all.
A3C can be a memorable experience. What was your best past memory and will you make one more with your performance in 2015?
I was lucky to perform at the first A3C ever and I remember touching that stage; it was a packed house. It was me, Yelawolf, and Freddie Gibbs; we were all come up at the time. It was just one of the greatest experiences for me. This year, I just want to make sure; I have more of that feeling again. When I touch that stage, in Atlanta; if you do know me or if you don’t…you will remember that Stalley’s performance was one of the best that weekend of the A3C Festival in 2015. I want to leave a memorable impact on my fans and the people that are potential fans.
Twelve & AllHipHop.com Presents: Artist's Garden
Friday October 9th @ 9:00 PM
The Basement (East Atlanta Village)