Photo courtesy of Cynthia K. Cortes
The rumbling bass of car stereos that fill the streets of Massillon, Ohio, are reflections of its blue-collar community and car culture and can be the inspiration for great music.
Kyle Myricks, the rapper known as Stalley, brought his hometown of Massillon to life in his latest project entitled, “Lincoln Way Nights: Intelligent Trunk Music.”
The album is about combining the roots of Stalley’s hometown with music that incorporates insightful lyrics and instrumentals.
“Growing up in Massillon, a lot of people hooked their cars up,” Stalley said. “So the concept was to make it enjoyable for that ride. I wanted it to be soulful and jazzy and funk all at once, and intelligent lyrically.”
“Lincoln Way Nights” is a personal project for Stalley. He said his intent was to paint a picture of where he grew up in a way that would enable the listener to learn something in the process.
“It’s basically about my life and coming up in Ohio,” he said. “Stories I was told and situations I dealt with, good and bad. I just want to bring people into my world and let the world get a piece of Massillon, Ohio.”
Rashad Thomas, Columbus producer and owner of Elev8tor Music, produced Stalley’s newest project. He can also be heard singing on tracks such as “Slapp” and “The Night.” Thomas described the album as creative and different from typical hip-hop music.
“It’s focused on the beats and the boom and the bass,” Thomas said. “He’s always saying something for people to listen to. It’s not just run-of-the-mill rap.”
Stalley will be performing at Skully’s Music Diner Tuesday at 9 p.m. to promote his latest compilation, which can be downloaded for free on his website.
Willingly releasing music for free might seem rare to some, but Stalley said it is a strategic move for an artist who is developing his brand.
Sometimes artists have to give things out for free to gain people’s respect and attention, he said.
“When I’m ready to put out that album, I guarantee people will support because they know what they are gonna get,” Stalley said.
Rumors circled the Internet last week about a record deal between Stalley and rapper Rick Ross’ record label, Maybach Music.
“I haven’t signed nothing,” Stalley said.
While he could not confirm at the moment, Stalley said he and Rick Ross have spoken.
“Things are out there, we’ll see what happens,” he said.
Thomas confirmed Stalley’s modest approach to tackling his second project.
“He’s definitely more laid back and humble,” Thomas said. “He’s very unassuming and a natural blue-collar, true-value type of guy.”
Only a few years removed from college, Stalley said any student could relate to his music.
“It’s everyday music,” Stalley said. “It’s just music that anyone can relate to. It’s not me talking about far-fetched stuff like popping bottles and riding around in blue Lamborghinis.”
Ben Adams, a first-year in sport and leisure studies, thinks college students can find a connection within Stalley’s music.
“College students, especially those at OSU, can relate because a lot of what he raps about is his experience growing up in small-town Ohio and moving up to be successful on his own,” Adams said.
After graduating high school, Stalley moved to Brooklyn, N.Y., to attend Long Island University. Here he shared one of his first mixed tapes in a record store when rapper Mos Def happened to walk in.
“He liked what he heard, and we exchanged phone numbers, and that really made me want to continue,” Stalley said. “He’s someone who had grown up in a similar area and has given me great knowledge within the music industry.”
Stalley plans to never stop making music for people to learn from, identify with and play loudly.
“I’m just an everyday dude trying to find my way through this world,” he said.
Tickets for Tuesday’s show are $12 and available at showclix.com.