The Road Less Traveled

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Rick Ross doesn’t seem overly concerned with the plight of the working man.  He hustled hard and that grind has paid off as he sits atop the game, surrounded by the finest things under the Miami sun.  Ross reached insane heights on the strength of his savvy and knowledge of the fickle, trend-heavy game.   Like any successful mogul, he surrounded himself with a collection of young, hungry soldiers including Wale, Meek Mill and Stalley who would rally to extend his brand.  The Maybach Music Group is concerned with ruling the charts, one show and one artist at a time.

The Rick Ross blueprint for success aside, it’s hard to calculate the process that landed Massillon, Ohio’s Stalley with the MMG crew.  At times, Stalley’s blue-collar poetics couldn’t land further from the pulse of mainstream hip hop.  His open-book approach would leave other mc’s vulnerable, but Stalley uses that personal reach to strengthen the connection between him and his listener.  The hat full of pins.  The wizard beard.  The soft speak.  Stalley is not your average hip hop persona.  Each verse, each bar, each song reveals the man behind the music, and that’s uncommon in hip hop today.  Many artists build walls of hype then crash and burn when their human side is revealed.  Stalley’s music is built on the premise that we are all on the come up, searching for that tiny slice of the pie where vulnerability is a part of the fabric that holds us in place.

Last year’s Lincoln Way Nights put Stalley in the limelight.  The project was re-mastered and re-released under the MMG tag and bolstered by a Ross feature on the excellent “Shop” remix and video.  Stalley was officially on the map.  His web assault included a series of singles, Songs by Me, Stalley, which featured the stellar “BCGMMG” and “Cash and My Cutty”.  March 30th saw the release of Stalley’s most ambitious and rewarding project to date,  Savage Journey To The American Dream.

Savage Journey begs the listener to utilize these fourteen songs as a framework for examining and determining their own quest for understanding.  What is it we’re looking for?  How are we going to get there?  What’s the motivation to move in the direction of happiness?  Not light material by any means, but it’s real, and that’s the beauty in Stalley’s work.  There’s no filler.  No bullshit.  No pretense.  It’s music for the people, and the people are just like you and me.

The Bruce Springsteen of rap.

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