(AllHipHop Feature) Maybach Music Group’s Stalley has been releasing music for over 5 years. After dropping three independent mixtapes prior to 2012 and his first project under the MMG umbrella last year, Stalley believes his latest mixtape, Honest Cowboy, is the definitive work that will force the non-believers to take notice.
“It’s going to be one that people will remember for a long time. I think this one will solidify me in the game as being top dog and not slept on,” says Stalley on Honest Cowboy. “People come up to me and they always say that I’m slept or that I’m overlooked, but I think this is that one that’s going to open people’s eyes up. The music is going to speak for itself.”
Honest Cowboy is a free project that Stalley describes as a musical exploration of who he really is and where he came from. The title was inspired by his troubled father who left the family in Ohio to pursue work as a rancher in San Antonio, Texas.
“I didn’t really grow up with [my father]. That’s the reason that sparked the title and the feel of the album. That was me trying to understand a little more about why he left his family and went down south to go be a cowboy,” explains Stalley. “I saw the parallel of a cowboy and Hip Hop artists today. You go on these frontiers, and you work hard and try to provide for your family. As an artist, you spend a lot of time away from your family and people that’s close to you to try and build this life.”
Kyle “Stalley” Myricks grew up in Massillon, Ohio, deeply connected to the car culture and high school sports. Massillon, a town of about 30,000 people roughly an hour outside of Cleveland, was also the place where Stalley’s grandmother introduced him to the songs of Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, and the storytelling of country music. Eventually, a young Kyle was exposed to Hip Hop, and the future rapper found his new passion.
“When I first heard Hip Hop was 2Pac’s Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z. ‘Brenda’s Got A Baby’, those types of records, really touched me,” says Stalley. “I dove into other music like N.W.A., Ice Cube, Scarface, E-40, Nas, OutKast.”
With tracks like Honest Cowboy’s “Raise Your Weapons” the 30-year-old emcee is harkening back to the social conscious records of artists like Tupac who used their music to make statements about the political state of the nation, the injustice of the judicial system, and the institutionalized oppression that affect the community of his listeners.
“I sit around and I get mad at times because nobody speaks for us. Nobody has that voice. Even people with a bigger voice than me. These artists who have a wider reach and bigger audience never speak on things, because I think people are so afraid to get criticized on social networks and in the media,” says Stalley. “I started [“Raise Your Weapons”] out saying, ‘They saying I’m the last of a dying breed in a generation in a dire need of a voice like me.’ I honestly feel like that. I feel like the generation has a dire, dire need for someone to just stand up and speak for the community.”
Stalley also uses his new project as an homage to his loves like buckets and southern Hip Hop. Both of those interests come together on the lead single “Swangin’” featuring shout outs to Houston rap, a sample of Alabama rap duo G-side, and a verse from legendary Geto Boys member Scarface.
“You don’t really hear Scarface talking much about cars. We’re use to hearing street talk from him and the ghetto tales,” says Stalley. “I wanted to have him do a little something different from what people are used to hearing.”
Stalley also recruited a Western voice for Honest Cowboy. TDE’s Schoolboy Q will make an appearance on “NINETEENEIGHTY7.” The pair recently shot a video for the record in Q’s hometown of Los Angeles.
“That’s one of them records that’s going to turn up the hood. It’s definitely one that I think is going to stick and stay for a minute. It’s a big record.”
Stalley’s desire to create a masterful work led him to record over a 100 verses. He eventually dwindling the tunes down to ten tracks which features production from DJ Quik, Block Beataz, S1, Terence Martin, Rashad, Soundtrakk, and Black Diamond. Stalley hopes what he calls “the album before the album” satisfies his core fans and also appeals to new audience as well.
“For anybody that listens to The Autobiography to Lincoln Way Nights to Savage Journey they know that the sound stays similar, but it always grows and gets bigger,” says Stalley. “I just focus on getting sharper with the pen, sharper with the flow, and making sure that the production stays my sound, but also grows and gets more worldly so that it can reach a wider audience. Every artist wants to grasp the attention of a new fan every time out, and I think that’s what I did with this project.”
Stalley’s Honest Cowboy will be available for download August 8. Follow Stalley on Twitter @Stalley
Watch the trailer for Honest Cowboy below.