With the string of success that MMG label has had in the past year, every release from any of its artists warrants some sort of attention. As one of the more recent signees to the labels, Stalley comes through with his Lincoln Way Nights project, a re-release of the mixtape that he dropped in early 2011.
It should be noted very early that despite being an integral part of MMG, this is not an MMG release. No, this project is by all means a testament of Stalleys’ own creativity, and possibly what led Rick Ross to signing him in the first place. The Ohio native gives listeners a chance to understand his perspective on things, without having to distance him self from any of his label mates.
Branded as “Intelligent Trunk Music”, there are two things that we learn about Stalley early on. He has an affinity for vintage cars, and the sounds of heavy bass. Both of which compliment each other well. Kicking things off with “The Tune Up”, the Ohio native sets the pacing of the album over a track with blaring horns and very distinct drums, which will serve as a pattern through out the project. In fact a majority of the production has beats that will leave you no choice but to upgrade your speakers to get the full effect of the bass being broadcasted.
If there is one thing that Stalley excels in above anything else it would have to be his wordplay. His ability to personify the components of a classic car into a variety of scenarios is rather unique in it’s approach. “She Hates The Bass” at first comes off as an ode to his lady, but in reality is a dedication to his vehicle of choice. It serves as a nice story telling of a feud between his girl and his car, and comes off pretty convincing. “Hard” and “Chevys and Spaceships” continue this theme with their own distinct takes, proving that he can flip his tastes in more ways than one. “Slapp” maintains his appreciation for trunk music, and serves as the projects best track. A smooth track with a heavy knock, it could easily find rotation in the clubs or streets.
This project isn’t all about cars and disturbing the peace with loud sounds though. It’s the introspective records where Stalley truly shines. “Money Ish” is by no means a luxury rap song, as it tackles his gripes with the industry and those that value materialistic items over moral values. “Chimes of Freedumb” has him taking a militant approach, but it’s “Tell Montez I Love Her” that stands out. The musical letter to his mother and estranged sister place him in a vulnerable position, which he handles as sincerely as one could imagine. Its moments like this that allow us to fully embrace his struggles.
For those that may be unfamiliar with Stalleys’ work, Lincoln Way Nights is as good a place as any to catch up. Not to say it doesn’t have its share of flaws, a couple tracks come off as redundant filler that could have been left out. For the most part though there is little to complain about here, as his brand of “Intelligent Trunk Music” has quite an appeal to it. His boss even rounds out the project with a verse on the title track, as Rick Ross closes out waving the MMG flag. Let this body of work stand as a marking point in the Ohio native’s career, because it’s clear that his momentum can only build from this point forward.
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